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Bangkok & Asia top destinations

#35 Travel Mastercard Bangkok

Bangkok and other Asian cities are within the top global travel destinations, with Asian cities making up nearly half of the top 20

In its third annual Global Destination Cities Index, MasterCard announced that Bangkok is this year’s number one city for travel.

The study looked at the highest international visitor numbers in 2013, with London, Paris, Singapore, and New York rounding out the top five.

A noticeable trend in this year’s report was the dominance of Asia. Of the 132 cities ranked, 42 are Asian. Apart from Bangkok, which tops the list, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong, Seoul, Shanghai, Tokyo and Taipei are in the top 20.

“With the rise of the Asia-Pacific region, this year’s index reflects the re-balance that the globe is undergoing in large part because of the rise of emerging markets,” said Ann Cairns, President of International Markets, MasterCard Worldwide.

“This shift is further underscored by electronic payments, which are enabling more people from more places to participate in the global economy than ever before,” said Cairns.

“Bangkok brought with it great momentum from last year. Its ascent to number one is not only a first for Asia, it’s emblematic of the rise of the global South which encompasses much of Africa and Asia, as well as South America,” concludes Dr Yuwa Hedrick-Wong, Global Economic Advisor for MasterCard and author of the report.

Overview of Asian Region

The rise of Asia is strongly reflected in this year’s index. Bangkok is the top-ranked city in Asia which is the region with the largest number of Destination Cities this year at 42.

Also notable is Tokyo, which has shown a strong recovery in 2012, bouncing back to 20 per cent from a severe contraction of 20 per cent in 2011 as a result of the earthquake, tsunami and Fukushima nuclear disasters. Tokyo is also gaining momentum in regional cross-border spending, moving up from seventh in arrivals in the region to third in spending.

MasterCard Index of Global Destination Cities

The MasterCard Index of Global Destination Cities ranks cities in terms of the number of their total international visitor arrivals and the cross-border spending by these same visitors in the destination cities, and gives visitor and passenger growth forecasts for 2013.

Public data is used in deriving the international visitor arrivals and their cross-border spending in each of the 132 destination cities, using custom-made algorithms; paying special attention to eliminate the hub effects for destination cities such as Singapore, Amsterdam and Frankfurt.

Amazing Thailand

Mr Thawatchai Arunyik, Deputy Governor for Domestic Marketing, Tourism Authority of Thailand said, “The Thailand tourism slogan – ‘Amazing Thailand Always Amazes You’ – is certainly apt as its capital, Bangkok, has emerged at the top of this year’s index.”

“What a tribute this is to our city’s hospitality industry, the transport industry and food and beverage and catering industry and more,” he said.