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BANGKOK LEADS THE WAY IN MASTERCARDS 2018 GLOBAL DESTINATION CITIES INDEX FOR THE THIRD CONSECUTIVE YEAR

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Bangkok--27 Sep--Weber Shandwick
Three Thai destinations rank in the global top 20: Bangkok, Phuket and Pattaya

Thailand has continued to see significant growth in the travel sector, making it the only country with three in the top 20 global destination cities, according to the seventh annual Mastercard Global Destination Cities Index (GDCI), released today.

The Index ranked Bangkok as the number one global destination city for international overnight visitors. It is the fifth time in six years (since 2012) – and the third consecutive year – the Thai capital has grabbed the top spot. Phuket and Pattaya, both popular tourist destinations, also ranked in the global top 20 destination cities at number 12 and 18, respectively.

For the first time, Phuket broke into the top 10 destination cities by dollars spent. This year the GDCI expanded expanded from 132 cities (in 2017) to 162. It is the first year the global findings have included Phuket and Pattaya.

With over 20 million international overnight visitors, Bangkok edged out London (with 19.83 million visitors), which ranked second for the second consecutive year. For Bangkok, the top three feeder countries remain the same as 2017; China, Japan and South Korea.

Donald Ong, country manager for Thailand and Myanmar, Mastercard said, "The fact that Thailand is the only country to have three destinations in the top 20 underscores the importance of robust infrastructure, a good mix of business and leisure attractions, and the unique local culture that Thailand is renowned for. We recognize the efforts of government agencies, including the Ministry of Tourism and Sports, Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) and the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA), as important factors in maintaining above-average growth in the tourism sector.

Thailand has hosted a number of international events in the past year, while the Thai government has expanded visa exemptions for short-stay tourists and implemented special immigration checkpoints for Chinese tourists. These factors, paired with the fact that Bangkok is seen as more affordable than other major cities including Paris, Singapore and Seoul, are major factors contributing to Bangkok's continued success as the number one destination city worldwide. We are also particularly delighted to see Phuket join Bangkok in the top 10 destination cities by dollars spent."

The annual growth of international overnight visitors to the Top 10 destination cities was up across the broad in 2017, except for Seoul which saw a dip. The forecast for 2018 indicates across-the-board growth, with Istanbul expecting the largest uptick in visitors.

Not all cities are equal when it comes to the amounts that visitors spend. Dubai continues to be the top ranked city for overnight visitor spending, with $537 per visitor per day on average. It is joined in the Top 10 with newcomers Makkah, Saudi Arabia, which debuts in the number two spot, Palma de Mallorca, Spain, and Phuket. Of the most visited cities, Istanbul has the lowest spend per day at $108 on average.

"International travelis crucial tomany urbaneconomies, enriching the lives of both residents and tourists. The bar is rising for cities to innovate to provide both a memorable and authentic experience," saidMiguelGamiñoJr., executive vice president, global citiesfor Mastercard. "We're partnering closely with cities around the world to ensure they have insights and technologies to improve how they attract and cater to tourists while preserving what makes them so special in the first place."

Whether people visit cities for business or leisure, Mastercard works with a broad range of partners, including tourism bodies, urban planners, banks and merchants around the globe – and in Thailand – to:

  • Identify and address urban challenges through scalable solutions in digital inclusion and economic development; Mastercard recently launched City Possible, a global platform for cities, research institutions and private sector organizations to address common challenges through collaboration
  • Simplify access to key urban services such as public transportation; in over 100 cities (and growing), visitors and locals can use the contactless Mastercard they already carry to access trains and buses
  • Help people traverse the globe with peace of mind: Seamless planning, conveniences and connectivity at their destination and worry-free acceptance at millions of locations around the globe
  • Create unique experiences across food, entertainment and shopping in 42 Priceless Cities around the globe, including Bangkok, London, Paris and many others throughout the Index
Snapshots by city, as well as a breakdown of origin countries
About the Mastercard Global Destination Cities Index

The Mastercard Index of Global Destination Cities ranks cities in terms of the number of their total international overnight visitor arrivals and the cross-border spending by these same visitors in the destination cities in 2017, and gives international overnight visitor growth forecasts for 2018.

Public data is used in deriving the international overnight visitor arrivals and their cross-border spending in each of the 162 destination cities.
Forecasts are based upon the weighted average of the national level tourism forecasts and the actual 2018 monthly data at the destination level, which is available to the latest month before release.
This Index and the accompanying reports are not based on Mastercard volumes or transactional data.
About Mastercard

Mastercard (NYSE: MA), www.mastercard.com, is a technology company in the global payments industry. We operate the world's fastest payments processing network, connecting consumers, financial institutions, merchants, governments and businesses in more than 210 countries and territories. Mastercard products and solutions make everyday commerce activities – such as shopping, traveling, running a business and managing finances – easier, more secure and more efficient for everyone. Follow us on Twitter @MastercardNews, join the discussion on the Beyond the Transaction Blog and subscribe for the latest news on the Engagement Bureau


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