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London to be world’s top tourist destination

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london-iconsLondon is likely to become world’s top tourist city with the most international overnight visitors, according to a survey.

The MasterCard Global Destination Cities Index report found Wednesday that the British capital is expected to welcome most number of international overnight visitors, an estimated 18.69 million, topping the list of most visited 132 destinations across the world, Xinhua reported.

The report witnessed tight contest between London and Bangkok in the past few years.

“Bangkok overtook London in 2013 to become the top ranked destination city in the world, but London regained the top rank this year with an 8 percent growth in visitors, versus an 11 percent decline in Bangkok due to the Thai political situation,” the report stated.

Bangkok is expected to pull some 16.42 million international visitors this year.

The findings suggest five of the world’s top ten destination cities in terms of overnight international travellers lie in the Asia Pacific.

Paris, Singapore and Dubai came in the third to fifth places with 15.57 million, 12.47 million and 11.95 international overnight visitors, respectively.

New York, Istanbul, Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong and Seoul took the next five places, with Hong Kong expected to see 8.84 million visitors.

Yuwa Hedrick-Wong, global economic advisor to MasterCard, said that the cross-border travel and associated spending have been growing at rates that are faster than the real world GDP (gross domestic product) since 2009.

“This continued growth of travel across borders reflects a continued interest and desire for new cultural experiences from all geographies, including the growing middle class in many emerging markets who now have the purchasing power to pursue these opportunities,” Yuwa said.

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