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Bangkok ranked the most internationally visited city

Sep 05. 2019
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By The Nation

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Despite the global economic slowdown, Bangkok has retained its title of the most visited city on Mastercard's Global Destination Cities Index for the fourth year in a row. Mastercard's index ranks 200 cities based on a proprietary analysis of visitor volume and spending data that is publicly available.

According to CNN, the number of international overnight visitors has increased by 76 per cent globally since 2009.

In 2018, the Thailand capital welcomed 22.78 million international overnight visitors, with 3.34 per cent growth forecast for 2019. Travellers who visited Bangkok mostly came from Mainland China, Japan, South Korea, India and the United Kingdom respectively. The most popular tourist attractions included Grand Palace, Wat Arun, and Damnoen Saduak Floating Market - in Ratchaburi.

Paris and London ranked in second and third place, both welcoming more than 19 million international visitors for overnight stays in 2018.

London was the only city in the current top 10 that saw a visitor year-over-year decline with a nearly 4 per cent drop.

The index also ranks cities by international overnight visitor spending. Dubai is the No. 1 city with International overnight visitors spending $30.82 billion in 2018, an average of $553 per day. By comparison, visitors to Bangkok spent an average of $184 per day. Bangkok ranked third for the visitor spending ($20.03 billion) after Mecca, Saudi Arabia, at No. 2 ($20.09 billion).

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) said on July 5 that the total number of visitors to Thailand grew 2 per cent, compared to the same period in the previous year, to around 20 million visitors ad brought it Bt1 trillion in revenue.

Despite the growing numbers, the number of visitors staying in hotels in main attractions such as Phuket and Pattaya has decreased since the beginning of the year and this will likely continue as the strength of the Baht pushes visitors to choose lower-cost destinations.

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