Which are the cities in the world that travelers visit most? It’s always a difficult thing to answer the question just off the cuff. One needs to look at published figures and statistics of renowned and reliable publications like Euromonitor International which releases its annual rankings for the world’s most visited cities. This is a comprehensive list of, particularly of the top 100, based on international tourist footfalls in a calendar year.
It is seen that Asia dominates most of these lists, with Thailand having 3 destinations alone as some of the most visited. This is closely followed by cities in Europe, the US, the UAE and the Middle East. Last year, the Asia-Pacific region played host to 339 million tourists and earned revenues worth the whopping US $245 billion. Tourism in fact now contributes to over 8.5% of the Asia-Pacific region’s GDP. In terms of regional GDP percentage and employment numbers, the Asia-Pacific is the largest tourism industry in the world.
- 30 Most Visited Cities in the World
- 1. Bangkok
- 3. Tokyo
- 4. Seoul
- 5. Kuala Lumpur
- 6. Phuket
- 7. Hong Kong
- 8. Pattaya
- 9. Osaka
- 10. Taipei
- 11. Bali
- 12. Shanghai
- 13. Hokkaido
- 14. Chennai
- 15. Mumbai
- 16. Beijing
- 17. Guangdong
- 18. Chiba
- 19. Guangzhou
- 20. Sydney
- 21. London
- 22. Paris
- 23. Dubai
- 24. New York
- 25. Istanbul
- 26. Barcelona
- 27. Amsterdam
- 28. Milan
- 29. Rome
- 30. Vienna
30 Most Visited Cities in the World
With 19.3 million international tourists visiting Bangkok in 2016, the city claimed its rightful position as the leader among the world’s most visited cities in 2016. Famous for its great cuisine, shopping facilities and luxury tourism, Bangkok is predicted to be the world No 1 even this year.
As a major commercial hub of Asia, this great city attracted 14.1 million tourists last year. This is expected to grow in the current year.
In 2016, Tokyo had 12.6 million international visitors. With its grand palaces and beautiful gardens, Tokyo has always attracted westerners and will continue to do so.
12.4 million foreigners visited Seoul in 2016 for business, leisure and tourism purposes. The bustling city of Seoul is great particularly for business travelers who are setting up shop in the city recently.
With 11.3 million international visitors, Kuala Lumpur, which has become synonymous with its legendary Petronas Twin Towers, gained the fifth position in the list of the world’s most visited cities. Tourists make a beeline for this structure that has simply become an architectural wonder of the world.
Phuket is not only one of Thailand’s most beautiful islands but a grand tourist destination as well. It had 9.1 million tourists last year.
As a bustling port city and Asian commercial hub, Hong Kong had 8.9 million footfalls in 2016. Its entertainment facilities and grand cuisine make it a hit among tourists and visitors.
Visiting Thailand and not going to Pattaya – famous for its beach and water sports activities– is sacrilege. It recorded 8.1 million tourist visits last year.
Yet another grand Japanese city, known for its Buddhist temples and manicured gardens, Osaka had 7.4 million people visiting it last year. The city is only next to Tokyo in terms of tourist footfalls.
Taiwan’s capital, Taipei an ultra-modern metropolis attracted 7.4 million international visitors with its skyscrapers, upscale shops, great street-food and night markets.
This Indonesian island – a haven for honeymooners with its forests, volcanic mountains, coral reefs, luxury resorts and beaches played host to 7.2 million tourists in 2016.
China’s largest city and a global financial hub, Shanghai attracts nearly 6.5 million visitors every year with its colonial charm, modern facilities, gardens ponds, and towers.
This quaint Japanese island has some famous volcanoes like Mount Asahi, hot springs, and skiing zones. It played host to 5.3 million visitors last year.
The city of Chennai in India has a grand historical value because of its rich cultural heritage, Fort St. George, an erstwhile British military establishment, numerous temples, and churches had 5.2 million footfalls in 2016.
Yet another bustling Indian city by the Arabian Sea on India’s western coast and the financial capital of the country, Mumbai had 4.9 million people visiting it last year.
One of the oldest cities in the world, China’s capital, Beijing is known for its Forbidden City complex, the mausoleum of Mao Zedong and National Museum of China that attracts 4.1 million visitors on an average every year.
Guangdong, known for its famous Cantonese cuisine, European architecture, garden-lined boulevards and the octagonal Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall recorded 4.1 million international footfalls last year.
Chiba, the capital of Japan’s Chiba Prefecture is gradually gaining prominence as a commercial center and had 4.1 million visitors last year. Most of these were business travelers.
This bustling port city has avant-garde architecture by way of its double pebble-shaped opera house, Guangdong Museum, Canton TV Tower, Chen Ancestral Hall and museum for folk arts which are visited by 3.9 million tourists every year.
It’s grand opera house, harbor and circular port makes this waterside city attractive to 3.9 million visitors every year.
A must visit city to all those who visit Europe, London, which is steeped in British history and offers numerous tourist attractions had 19.88 million footfalls in 2016. Undoubtedly, Europe’s most visited city as also one of the world’s most visited cities.
The fashion capital of Europe, Paris attracted 18.03 million visitors with its sheer charm, great history, food and sightseeing facilities.
For lovers of luxury shopping, lively nightlife, and ultra modern architecture, Dubai is the place to be in. Its Burj Khalifa hotel is a global landmark now as are its Dubai Fountain, artificial islands and marine parks which had 15.27 million visitors in 2016.
The Big Apple is America’s most visited city and finds its rightful place in the list of the world’s most visited cities. The figure of 12.75 million visitors speaks for itself.
A unique combination of European and Asian culture, Istanbul has become a grand favorite of travelers with its mosques, minarets, and bazaars. 11.95 million visitors paid homage to the city last year.
Barcelona, a cosmopolitan city and the Spanish Catalonian region’s capital, is best known for its architecture and art. Its grand museums featuring artworks by Picasso and Juan Miró and numerous archaeological sites dating back to the Roman era has nearly 8.2 million visitors on an average annually.
Artistic heritage, a unique canal system, Van Gogh and Rijks museums and fabulous diamond jewelry attracted art lovers and tourists from the world over to the tune of nearly 8 million last year.
Yet another leading fashion capital of Europe, this financial hub of Italy is also famous for its high-end shops, restaurants, cathedrals, convents, culture, and art which attract nearly 7.65 million international travelers.
Always a compulsory item on the list of the world’s most visited cities, Rome had 7.12 million visitors taking in its Colosseum, the Vatican, Cistine Chapel and some of the world’s best art on offer last year.
Home of Mozart, Beethoven and Sigmund Freud, this medieval city has always attracted romantics and culture lovers. Played host to 6.69 million visitors in 2016.
Each and every city that plays host to millions of visitors every year have their own uniqueness in terms of culture, facilities offered, scenic beauty and business opportunities. That’s why it becomes difficult to compare one with the other on any given scale. An opportunity to visit them all should never be, therefore, missed.