According to Mastercard’s yearly global payments ranking, Bangkok has been named the most popular travel destination worldwide in 2016. Thai’s capital beat out London to hit the top spot this year.
With tourism being the second largest economy for Southeast Asia, visitors to this area have been a highlight for Thailand, as it struggles amongst a loss in exports and consumer confidence post-2014 coup and political unrest. The wave of bombs that hit south Thailand last month, where police have placed the blame on Muslim separatists, have not seemingly had a negative impact as it relates to the travel and tourism.
Known as the ‘city of angels’, Bangkok hit number one in 2016 out of 132 cities, edging out (as stated above) London, Dubai, and Paris to become the most-visited by travelers across the globe.
Mastercard’s Chief Economist, Yuwa Hedrick-Wong noted that Bangkok is certainly not a flash in the pan, and it holds a strong position to be a top travel destination over the long term. He goes on to state that Bangkok has a value for money, especially as it relates to travelers visiting from high-income nations.
Reuters advised that thirty million visitors are expected to travel to Thailand in 2016, which can be attributed to the increase in Chinese travelers. In addition, Bangkok itself is expected to welcome just over 21 million visitors worldwide this year, while second-place holder London is projected to see just over 19 million travelers.
In other rankings, Mastercard stated that Osaka, a city in Japan, showed the highest increase in global visitors across a seven-year span; where tourists are coming in flocks from nearby countries, including South Korea and China.
Last year, London had the bragging rights to the top spot on the 2015 list of international destination, but Mastercard did not reveal while it fell down to second this year. Still, both Bangkok and London have hit the top area of this ranking list for most of its releases, so it could just be that travelers have decided to see more of the Thai city this year, than the British one.