Top 20 most visited cities in the world

This year will see the rise of emerging markets as destination cities.
Written by Tyler Falk, Contributor

Bangkok, the populous capital city of Thailand, is expected to be the most popular city for international travelers this year.

That's according to new estimates from Mastercard's 2013 Global Destination Cities Index. Bangkok is estimated to have nearly 16 million overnight visitors, followed closely by London, Paris, Singapore, and New York. Here's the rest of the top 20:

Not surprisingly, those are also the cities bringing in the most money from overnight international travelers. But this time New York is at the top with an estimated $18.6 billion spent in 2013, followed by London ($16.3 billion), Paris ($14.6 billion), Bangkok ($14.3 billion), and Singapore ($13.5 billion).

But competition is coming fast from cities outside the top 20. Smaller cities are seeing massive international travel growth with Chengdu, China leading the way with 285 percent growth between 2009 and 2013, along with places like Colombo, Sri Lanka with 123 percent growth and Mumbai, India with 113 percent growth.

The latest rendition of this annual Mastercard Index is the first time an Asian city has been atop the international visitors rankings, part of a larger trend.

"This geographical pattern clearly suggests that destination cities in emerging markets in the Middle East and Asia are expanding the fastest in being connected to the rest of the world through having more flights to more cities, and more frequent flights to cities where they are already connected," said Yuwa Hedrick-Wong, in a post about the rankings. "This will strongly drive the growth of their visitor arrivals and cross-border spending in the coming years."

Read the full report.

Photo: Flickr/Sarmu

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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