London today emerges as the top destination of choice for international travellers for the third time in four years.
The capital is projected to receive 18.7 million international visitors this year – 300,000 more visitors than the 2013 top destination city, Bangkok.
This translates into an injection of more than £11 billion for the capital in 2014, according to the annual MasterCard Global Destinations Cities Index released today.
The list, in its fourth year, uses data from 132 most travelled cities from around the world.
The report reveals that London has retained its top rank position from 2013 in relation to the amount that visitors spend at an estimated average of £1,387.
Bangkok, Paris and Singapore follow, with the former seeing visitor spending reach just £7.6 billion despite its 18.37 million visitors.
This demonstrates that more people are visiting London and spending more in the capital than in any other city in the world, according to the study.
Dubai rounds out the top five cities, which are benefiting from a surge in international travel fueled by an expanding middle class, innovations in luxury travel and rising need for business travel.
Key trends from the latest Index include:
- Asia/Pacific – The region is home to half of the top ten destination cities, with Seoul achieving this status for the first time.
- Europe – 67% of London’s international visitors are from other European cities – a strong indication of Europe’s strengthening economy and the importance of the country’s ties with Europe.
- Latin America – Lima built on its position as 2013’s fastest growing city, taking the top spot on the Latin America line-up for the first time.
- Middle East and Africa – Dubai is one of the fastest growing cities in the global top ten, on track to overtake Paris and Singapore within five years.
- North America – The region has been fairly consistent since the creation of the Index, with Chicago forecast to be the fastest growing US city this year.
MasterCard UK and Ireland president Marion King added: “As London retains its top spot for both visitor spending and international visitors, there is a huge opportunity for retailers which need to keep pace with consumer demand for new, innovative and safe ways to shop.
“In order for the upward trend in visitor spending to continue, the UK needs to transform the day-to-day shopping experience for consumers – providing shoppers with more choice and offering a fast, safe and convenient way to pay via any device.”
The company’s international markets president Ann Cairns said: “The Index points to a continued strong demand and interest in air travel, both for business and personal travel.
“The recognition of this year’s top international destinations reinforces the continued importance of cities as business, cultural and economic hubs.
“For London in particular, being recognised once again for its place as the top destination will further boost this city’s ability to continue to be a global leader, whether through hosting events that shine a spotlight on this city and draw in further investment, or inspiring those within to drive economic growth.”
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