Report: Top International Destination Cities in 2016

It’s always interesting to discover, at the end of a year, which were the most visited cities worldwide. I admit I am curious – to see if my favourite cities are in top, if cities from my country made it, how the top changes from one year to another, which are the top cities split into different areas and continents, etc. So here are the top international destination cities in 2016 – according to the Mastercard Global Destinations Cities Index recently released. As you’ll see below, I’ll include the top 20 international destination cities, then the top 20 cities based on visitor spending, and then top 10 cities from different continents/areas. So, let’s see them:

Report: Top International Destination Cities in 2016

Top 20 international cities based on visitor spending

  1. Bangkok
  2. London
  3. Paris
  4. Dubai
  5. New York
  6. Singapore
  7. Kuala Lumpur
  8. Istanbul
  9. Tokyo
  10. Seoul
  11. Hong Kong
  12. Barcelona
  13. Amsterdam
  14. Milan
  15. Taipei
  16. Rome
  17. Osaka
  18. Vienna
  19. Shanghai
  20. Prague

Shanghai has the highest percent in business visitors (54.6%) with the second city at a far distance in terms of visitors for business purposes: Tokyo (27.5%), while Istanbul has the highest one for leisure visitors (90.8%), followed very close by Barcelona (90.3%). As you can easily see, the Asia/Pacific region has the most impressive visitor growth and the most cities among the top ten global destinations.

Report: Top International Destination Cities in 2016

The top 10 Fastest-Growing Destination Cities in 2016

  1. Osaka
  2. Chengdu
  3. Abu Dhabi
  4. Colombo
  5. Tokyo
  6. Riyadh
  7. Taipei
  8. Xi’an
  9. Tehran
  10. Xiamen

Again, most of the cities are from the Asia-Pacific region – and, as an interesting fact, there is NO EUROPEAN city among the top 20 fastest-growing cities in 2016!

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Top 10 Fastest-Growing Destination Cities in 2016

And now, let’s see the top ten cities in various regions 😉

Top 10 Asia-Pacific Destination Cities by International Overnight Visitors (2016)

  1. Bangkok
  2. Singapore
  3. Kuala Lumpur
  4. Tokyo
  5. Seoul
  6. Hong Kong
  7. Taipei
  8. Osaka
  9. Shanghai
  10. Mumbai

Europe Top 10 Destination Cities by International Overnight Visitors (2016)

  1. London
  2. Paris
  3. Istanbul
  4. Barcelona
  5. Amsterdam
  6. Milan
  7. Rome
  8. Vienna
  9. Prague
  10. Madrid

Middle East & Africa Top 10 Destination Cities by International Overnight Visitors (2016)

  1. Dubai
  2. Riyadh
  3. Johannesburg
  4. Abu Dhabi
  5. Cairo
  6. Tehran
  7. Cape Town
  8. Beirut
  9. Casablanca
  10. Tel Aviv

Latin America Top 10 Destination Cities by International Overnight Visitors (2016)

  1. Lima
  2. Mexico City
  3. Punta Cana
  4. Sao Paulo
  5. Buenos Aires
  6. San Jose
  7. Rio de Janeiro
  8. Bogota
  9. Montevideo
  10. Quito

North America Top 10 Destination Cities by International Overnight Visitors (2016)

  1. New York
  2. Los Angeles
  3. Miami
  4. Toronto
  5. San Francisco
  6. Vancouver
  7. Montreal
  8. Washington
  9. Chicago
  10. Boston

The report showed that there is an overlap between the fastest-growing cities in Latin America and the Middle East and Africa regions. Things are different in the Asia-Pacific area. You can check all these details in the 2016 Mastercard Global Destinations Cities Index.

One thing is clear: the Asia-Pacific area is currently trending – it has the most cities included in the top 20 global destination cities in 2016 and has numerous cities currently in the fastest-growing cities top. It looks like the other areas need to do more to lure tourists – either in the currently famous cities, or in new ones. For instance, I know that there are so many other amazing, friendly, perfect for leisure and/or business trips cities in Europe (my continent) and I hope to see them on the list in the next years (and more from Europe in the top 20 global cities).

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As a side note, I was happy to see that Bucharest (capital of Romania and my home town) is ranked 8 among the fastest-growing destination cities by international overnight visitors (2009–2016 CAGR).

How about your favourite cities? Did they make it into various tops? And what cities do you plan on visiting the next year?

Report: Top International Destination Cities in 2016



I’m offering public relations, communications and image counseling in everyday life and I have a PR agency – PRwave INTERNATIONAL. I am passionate about reading, blogging (I also have a blog in Romanian) and traveling. Follow me on Twitter - @violetaloredana (Romanian) and @TravelMoments.

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