Can you guess which is the most popular destination city for international travellers?
The following list is compiled from Forbes and ranks cities by visitors per year who claim the city as their primary destination (in ascending order). Here are the top 8 most visited cities in the world.
8. Kuala Lumpur
We start our list off with the ‘Jewel of Malaysia’, Kuala Lumpur which sits like a gateway between Asia and the Middle East. It is the national capital and the most populous city in Malaysia, with over 1.6 million residents.
Just over 2 million residents, Dubai is the only Middle Eastern city to appear on this ‘Top 8’ list, and it’s climbing! On average, almost 10 million international visitors make Dubai a destination every year likely due to Dubai’s emergence as a primary business hub for those looking to expand into the Middle East.
A true ‘Gateway City’, Istanbul has stood at the crossroads of Europe and the Middle East for a millennia (or more). As Turkey’s largest and most visited city, it continues to attract more and more tourism to it’s vibrant East-meets-West culture. Check back next year and this single destination may boast a spot in the top 5!
5. New York
Surprisingly this is the only American city in the top ten. New York has a global reputation of being fast, exciting, and perhaps dangerous at times. Despite is shifting reputation, New York welcomes so many visitors per year that it generates close to $19 Billion in tourism revenue annually. The backdrop to countless movies, novels, comics, and more, New York may not be the most visited destination but it is arguably the most popular city in the world.
Singapore’s influence on the Asia-Pacific region is multifaceted, and it is perhaps for that reason it has become a ‘must-see’ for many world traveller looking for a unique urban adventure. The active and vibrant city, and it’s 5.5 million residents, also stands in the Top 5 Global Financial Hubs, and is the worlds second busiest commercial shipping port. It also boast a high marks in education, healthcare, and standard of living.
The only city on our list that seems to be slipping of late. A few years ago Paris would rank #2 or even #1, the cause of this decline has perhaps less to do with Paris and more to do with the emergence of other cities into the global tourism trade. None the less, Paris still generates tens of billions of dollars in annual tourism revenue – and it’s standing in the Top 5 does not appear threatened as year-after-year tourist flock to the romantic destination to enjoy food, art, and a beloved (though often parodied) culture.
Slipping down to #2 is London (a former top spot holder). Still the most favoured destination in Europe, London’s not new to visitors from abroad. In fact, tourism remains a prime industry for the city with over 350,000 full-time workers and 15 billion in revenue. The British Museum is the most popular spot for tourist to visit, along with the Tate Modern, Tower of London, and Madame Tussauds, to name but a few.
and our #1 destination city is……..
The Thai capitol may not be everyones first choice of city destinations but it is for over 16 million of us (and rising). Perhaps it is the diverse appeal of Bangkok, which offers destination travellers Royal palaces, temples, museums, major historical and cultural tourist attractions, plus shopping and dining at cost often far less the the visitors native lands that has catapulted it to the top of our list, or perhaps it is Bangkok’s geographical location which gives visitors access to many Asia-Pacific destinations. Whatever it is, Bangkok is the #1 destination, holding strong and remaining popular with cultural, high-end, and backpacking tourist year-round.