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Mastercard lists Colombo as world's 4th fastest growing tourist destination

The only South Asian city to figure in the list, Colombo is set to see a 19.5 percent increase in arrivals.

Published: 24th September 2016 12:38 PM  |   Last Updated: 24th September 2016 12:40 PM   |  A+A-

COLOMBO: Colombo, the capital of Sri Lanka, is the world’s fourth fastest-growing destination for international visitors, according to the 2016 Mastercard Global Destinations Cities Index.

Released on September 22, the Index, which projects the number of tourists staying in 132 of the most popular cities worldwide, says that Colombo will see a 19.57% increase in foreign arrivals  this year.

Mastercard’s latest list shows the growing international significance of Asia, as seven of the 10 most-visited cities in the world are in the continent, with five of those of located in East or Southeast Asia.

Bangkok is the world’s most popular destination and is projected to welcome over 21 million international overnight travelers.

Asia also dominates the list of fastest growing destinations, as each of the top 10 cities lies in the continent. Colombo, though, is the only city located in South Asia.

The 2016 ranking of the fastest-growing destination cities is as follows:

Osaka – 24.15 percent, Chengdu – 20.14 percent, Abu Dhabi – 19.81 percent, Colombo – 19.57 percent, Tokyo – 18.48 percent, Riyadh – 16.45 percent, Taipei – 14.53 percent, Xi’an – 14.20 percent, Tehran – 12.98 percent and Xiamen – 12.93 percent 

Bangkok is the top-ranked destination city by international overnight visitor arrivals according to the annual Mastercard Global Destination Cities Index  released on September 22..

The Index provides more than a ranking of the 132 most visited cities around the world. It projects visitor volume and spend estimates for the 2016 calendar year, while delivering a deeper understanding of how people travel and spend around the world. As cross-border travel and spending continue to grow at a faster pace than the world GDP, the world’s cities continue to be engines of broader economic growth.

According to the study, Bangkok is projected to receive 21.47 million international overnight visitors in 2016, just ahead of second-ranked London. Forecasted international overnight visitors to the rest of the top 10 cities include:

 London – 19.88 million visitors

Paris – 18.03 million visitors

Dubai – 15.27 million visitors

New York – 12.75 million visitors

Singapore – 12.11 million visitors

Kuala Lumpur – 12.02 million visitors

Istanbul – 11.95 million visitors

Tokyo – 11.70 million visitors

Seoul – 10.20 million visitors

The biggest surprise in this year’s Index is Dubai’s jump to the top rank based on international visitor spending of US$31.3 billion, far exceeding the second ranked London estimated at US$19.8 billion.

The way people travel and spend across borders indicates just how interconnected and important the world’s cities are,” said Ann Cairns, President of International Markets, Mastercard.

“As the planning and experience of the trip become increasingly important, Mastercard is bringing all these pieces together seamlessly through innovation and connections.”

For the first time, the Index explores whether visitors travel for business or leisure as well as insights into how international visitors spend, including dining, lodging and shopping. 

The 2016 Index shows that among the top 20 cities, more people travel internationally for leisure, except to Shanghai. Visitors to the top 20 overwhelmingly spent more while shopping, as opposed to dining, except in Europe, where meals captured greater share of spend in Amsterdam, Barcelona, Istanbul, Milan, Paris, Prague and Vienna.

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