By The Nation
The Mastercard GDCI 2018 ranks 162 destination cities in terms of total international overnight visitors and the amount spent by visitors throughout the previous year. The index ranks Bangkok as the number one destination for overnight visitors (for the third consecutive year), with Phuket and Pattaya also in the global top 20 (at 12 and 18, respectively), making Thailand the only country with three in the top global 20 destinations.
Mastercard’s GDCI: indulgences – an offshoot of the GDCI – looks specifically at the amount spent within destination cities on dining and shopping. Findings show that not only is the amount significant, but so is the impact on cities’ economies.
Bangkok, world famous for food, ranks third in dollars spent on food and beverages with US$3.38 billion, equivalent to 20.6 per cent of visitors’ budgets. Palma on Mallorca, Spain, came in second place with US$3.78 billion, behind top-ranked Dubai, with US$5.94 billion.
Singapore and London are also in the top 10 for overall food and beverage spend, but it’s worth noting that travellers are spending a lower percentage of their travel budgets on food in these cities (12.9 per cent and 17.6 per cent, respectively).
Visitors to Dubai and London spend heavily on shopping, whether purchasing clothes, souvenirs or other goods. Visitors to London, Seoul and Johannesburg, in particular, might want to bring a bigger suitcase as international travellers to all three destinations are spending at least 40 per cent of their travel budgets on shopping.
Bangkok, also a world-renowned shopping haven, came in sixth in this category, with visitors spending US$3.75 billion on shopping, some 23 per cent of their travel budget.
“Dining and shopping are experiences which people throughout the world use to connect with culture, traditions and history,” said Donald Ong, country manager for Thailand and Myanmar at Mastercard. “Through programmes like Priceless Cities, Mastercard is enriching travel experiences for travellers in some of the world’s most fascinating cities. Whether in Bangkok’s hippest boutique hotels or sampling some of Thailand’s world-famous cuisine, Mastercard believes in expanding horizons and thus has created a wide range of memorable experiences for people around the globe.”
Mastercard is focused on helping cardholders travel the world with peace of mind through seamless planning, convenience and connectivity at their destinations and worry-free acceptance at millions of locations. Compelling travel offerings and benefits help travellers every step of their journey.”