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MasterCard have published their second annual Global Destinations and Cities Index for 2012 with some interesting findings. Istanbul is the fastest growing destination putting it at number 5 on the list while Bangkok leads in the total number of visitors for the Asia / Pacific region. Overall the report shows that despite the global economic situation the number of people travelling abroad continues to increase. Take a look at the top ten here.


London leads the world as both the most popular destination city for overseas travelers, and in the average amount each visitor spends. London’s visitors from New York are the ones that travel the furthest and spend the most.


Paris retains its second-place rank, but has seen a decline of 0.6% in its visitor numbers, with 16 million expected to visit this year. There’s still a lot of shopping going on there though with visitors expected to spend $17.8 billion there this year.


Wat Arun on the Chao Phraya River is a world-famous landmark of Bangkok, which is expected to get 12.2 million visitors this year. Thailand’s capital leads the Asia/Pacific region in the total number of visitors.


With a population of less than 5 million, Singapore expects 11.8 million visitors this year. Although it is a melting pot of cultures, including Indian, Chinese and Malay, English is the dominant language, and Westerners do not tend to experience the culture shock there that occurs elsewhere in the region.


The number of visitors to Istanbul rose by 14.7%, and it moved up one rank since last year, displacing Hong Kong. It also has the highest growth rate in visitor spending — an impressive 20.7%.

Hong Kong

11.1 million visitors are expected this year but visitor spending in Hong Kong has declined by one rank.


It’s architecture and museums make Madrid number 4 of top European destination cities (after London, Paris and Istabul), and number 7 worldwide.


Sometimes called the shopping capital of the Middle East, Dubai has displaced Rome as the eighth most visited city in the world. It also retains its rank as number one of the top 10 destination cities in the Middle East and Africa.


Frankfurt shows growth in both the number of visitors and what they are expected to spend. With 8.1 million visitors expected this year, it’s number 5 in Europe’s top 10 destination cities for international travelers.

Kuala Lumpur

A construction boom has altered the cityscape of the downtown area of Kuala Lumpur, capital city of Malaysia. It expects 8.1 million visitors in 2012, making it #4 of the top 10 Asia/Pacific destination cities (after Bangkok, Singapore and Hong Kong).

Get the full report here

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