Last year, according to MasterCard’s 2015 Global Destination Cities Index, Bangkok dethroned London as the top visited city by international visitors.
The two cities have held the top two spots for four consecutive years and in 2014 London reclaimed the number one spot with a projected 18.82 million overnight international visitors this year.
Just to show you how close the race is, Bangkok is estimated to draw 18.24 million.
MasterCard’s Global Destination Cities Index
The MasterCard’s Global Destination Cities Index provides an annual ranking of 132 of the most important destination cities in the world. The report estimates the number of international visitors to each of these 132 cities each year, and estimates the impact of their cross-border spending.
The data shows how the 132 cities are connected and the business potential generated by the visitor spending.
New York Only American City Making Top 20
So how much of that spending makes it to U.S. shores? Within the top 20 cities to make this list, New York is the only North American city to make the cut. It ranked number 6 with projected overnight visitors at 12.27 million with projected international visitor spending at $17.37 billion.
While the US has one contender in the top 20, Asia is represented strongly with Bangkok (2), Singapore (4), Kuala Lumpur (8), Hong Kong (9), Seoul (10), Taipei (15), Shanghai, (16), and Tokyo (19).
Air Travel Has Come a Long Way in 100 Years
It’s hard to believe that it’s been 100 years since the first commercial flight. That historic flight happened in January, 1914, with a flight from Tampa to St. Petersburg, Florida carrying two paying passengers.
There’s only 23 miles between those two cities and it took the wooden, propeller plane 20 minutes to make the trip with a top speed of 60 mph. The two paying passengers dished out $400 each to make the trip. Breaking that into today’s terms that amount is roughly the equivalent to $9,300 per person.
Today, air travel is more affordable, faster, and more comfortable than ever, with three billion air travelers flying commercial airlines across the globe in 2013.