Everyone needs a break once in a while from their everyday life. Some people head to explore the World outside their countries while the others travel within their own countries. The description of “places” can fit “countries”, “cities”, or even “amusement parks”. Here, however, the variable we are using for a ‘place’ is a ‘city’ since cities have credibly recorded data compared to various other smaller places around the World that do not have such data. Comparing such insufficient data will lead us to distorted results. Thus, our list of top 10 visited places brings to you a list of cities ranked according to annual international visitors. Despite the economic uncertainties, World tourism is growing where there were 1035 million international tourists in 2012 (according to the UNWTO report). Out of these tourists, 534.2 million were received in Europe, followed by 233.6 million in the Asia and Pacific, then 163.1 million in the Americas, 52.4 million in Africa, and finally, 52 million in the Middle East. The tourism industry in the Asia and the Pacific is the fastest growing, evident by the fact that the world’s most visited city in 2013 is an Asian city. Here is the list of top 10 most visited places in the world.
Visitors: 8.41 million
Barcelona, the second largest city of Spain, is rich in cultural heritage and forms a popular tourist destination. Its famous architectural works, Antoni Gaudí and Lluís Domènech i Montaner, have been included to the list of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites. Its monuments, beaches and parks have attracted around 8.41 million visitors, making it the 10th most visited place in the World. The five places contributing to the majority of the tourism of Barcelona are London, Paris, Frankfurt, Amsterdam, and Munich.
9. Hong Kong
Visitors: 8.72 million
Since Hong Kong shifted to the service sector model in the late 1980s, tourism has become an important industry. Majority of the visitors are from mainland China while the others belong to Europe, Africa, and the Middle East. Its main tourist attractions include Victoria Peak, Victoria Harbour, Start Ferry Pier, Lan Kawai Fong, and Ocean Park. Attracting about 8.72 million international visitors, Hong Kong is the 9th most visited place in the World.
8. Kuala Lumpur
Visitors: 9.20 million
Kuala Lumpur, the Malaysian capital, is one of the fastest growing metropolitan cities. Tourism in Kuala Lumpur is boosted by its cultural diversity, a variety of shopping options, and relatively low prices. Its main tourist attractions include the Merdeka Square, the House of Parliament, the Kuala Lumpur Tower, National Palace, National Museum, and the Central Market. With 9.2 million annual international visitors, Kuala Lumpur is the 8th most visited place in the World. The top five places that provide tourism for Kuala Lumpur are: Singapore, Jakarta, Manila, Bangkok, and Melbourne.
Visitors: 9.89 million
Today, tourism is an important part of Dubai’s GDP and it is an industry evolving at great speeds. It had the second largest tourist growth among all the other cities since the previous year, a 10.9%. With 9.89 million international visitors, Dubai is the only Middle-Eastern city to have reached the list of top 10 most visited places in the World. Dubai is famous for its shopping tourism and is called as the ‘shopping capital of the Middle East’. From beaches to deserts and monuments such as Burj al-Khalifa (the World’s tallest building), Dubai is the 7th most visited place in the World.
Visitors: 10.37 million
Istanbul’s tourist industry is rapidly growing and if it continues at this pace, Istanbul is predicted to be included in the top 5 most visited places by 2016. Located at the cross-roads of Asia and Europe, Istanbul has emerged as a popular tourist destination. It is Turkey’s largest city with cultural, historic, and economic significance. Also, it has been named as European Capital of Culture. Attracting 10.37 million international visitors, Istanbul ranks as the 6th most visited place in the World.
5. New York
Visitors: 11.52 million
The New York City is the only American city reaching the top 10 most visited places with 11.52 million international visitors. It is a city which generated most revenue from the tourists, US$ 18.6 billion. The main attractions in the New York City include the Empire State Building, Central Park, Times Square, and the Statue of Liberty. The majority of the tourists belong to these five cities: London, Paris, Toronto, Sao Paolo, and Buenos Aires.
Visitors: 11.75 million
Singapore is a tourist friendly country with low crime rates, convenient public transport system (especially the Mass Rapid Transit), understandable language (dominantly English), and environment friendliness. All these features attract the tourists to Singapore which also runs nature and heritage conservation programs. Its main attractions are the Singapore Zoo, Night Safari, Fort Siloso, and Tiger Sky Tower. With wonderful food and World-class airline, Singapore is ranked 4th in the list of most visited cities.
Visitors: 13.92 million
Paris has a great number of historical monuments including four UNESCO World Heritage Sites to attract the tourists. Some of these famous attractions are the Eiffel Tower, Centre Georges Pompidou, and The Musée d’Orsay (art museum). With 13.9 million visitors, it is still the 3rd most visited city however; it is the only city in the top 10 rankings to have lost some international visitors since the MasterCard Global Destination Cities index was last published.
Visitors: 15.96 million
London is Europe’s most visited city with 15.96 million international visitors. Also, it is the second most visited city in the World. Although it has lost its first place to Bangkok, however, its revenue generated from tourism is about US$ 2 billion more than Bangkok: US$16.3 billion. London is host to many tourist attractions such as the London Eye on the River Thames, Big Ben, Tower of London, Houses of the Parliament, Buckingham Palace, Madame Tussaud’s Museum, Hyde Park, etc. Majority of the international tourists belong to Dublin, New York, Amsterdam, and Frankfurt.
Visitors: 15.98 million
After beating the previous number one tourist destination city, that is, London, Bangkok has become Asia’s first city to top this list. The Thai capital has ranked first in this list with 15.98 million projected visitors, generating around US$14.4 billion. “Travel+Leisure” magazine’s survey of its readers has declared Bangkok as the World’s Best City for consecutively three years since 2010. Bangkok is famous for its night-life, cultural attractions which include temples and museums, shopping, and dining. Tourists from Hong Kong, Tokyo, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, and Seoul form the bulk of visitors to Bangkok. Most of the visitors to this part of the world love visiting beaches because Bangkok’s beaches are known for beautiful scenes.