Bangkok is Asia Pacific’s most visited destination by international tourists, according to the 2015 Mastercard Global Destination Cities Index.
It’s also ranked number one for total tourism expenditure – US$15.2 billion during 2015 – and for total nights stayed – a total of 107 million in 2015.
The index measured the number and analytics of international overnight visitors in 167 destinations, including islands, cities and towns, across the Asia Pacific (APAC) region during 2015.
Here’s the top ten destinations by international overnight visitor numbers:
- Bangkok: 21.9 million
- Singapore: 11.8 million
- Tokyo: 11.8 million
- Kuala Lumpur: 11.3 million
- Phuket: 9.3 million
- Seoul: 9.2 million
- Hong Kong: 8.3 million
- Pattaya: 8.1 million
- Bali: 7.2 million
- Osaka: 6.5 million
Around half of these destinations saw over 10 percent growth in numbers between 2014 and 2015: Osaka (54 percent), Tokyo (53.2 percent), Bangkok (28.6 percent), Phuket (15.5 percent) and Pattaya (10 percent).
These numbers illustrate the dominance of the APAC region when it comes to global tourism; Mastercard’s 2015 Index found that five of the 10 most visited cities in the world were in the region.
Tourism contributed US$2.27 trillion to APAC regional economies last year and 153.7 million jobs.
Matthew Driver, group executive for Mastercard, comments that, “at current growth rates, Asia Pacific will have more than 500 million tourist arrivals by 2020.”
Thailand’s dominance of the top ten cities is especially impressive given the domestic strife it has faced in the last few years with a military coup d’etat, the bombing of the Erawan Shrine in Bangkok and various economic issues.
The driving force behind the kingdom’s success is thought to be Chinese tourists, and they are expected to play an even larger hand in tourism arrivals during 2016, when 32 million international visitors are forecasted to visit Thailand.
“What’s ultimately driving Thailand is the Chinese,” agrees Driver.
You can read the full report by Mastercard here.
Featured image is by United Nations Phot0 and used under a Creative Commons licence