Aerial view of Singapore business district and city at twilight (Image by Prasit Rodphan/Shuterstock)

Singapore has maintained its position as the fifth most visited global destination for the second consecutive year, according to the Mastercard Global Destination Cities Index released today. Boasting a 6.1% growth with 13.91 million international visitors in 2017, Singapore has more than doubled its growth forecast of 2.6%. The top five origin market for Singapore are China (18.8%), Indonesia (15%), India (8.3%), Australia (6.1%) and Malaysia (5.2%).

This year, top cities Bangkok, London and Paris lead the pack, once again underscoring the importance of robust infrastructure, both business and leisure attractions and strong local culture. With more than 20 million international overnight visitors, Bangkok is unlikely to be bested due to a strong projected growth of 9.6 percent for 2018. Interestingly, visitors tend to stay in Bangkok 4.7 nights and spend $173 per day, on average.

For the past decade, Mastercard’s Global Destination Cities Index has offered insights into travel patterns and spend to and within cities. The Index, which expanded this year to look at 162 cities, is not simply a ranking of the top travel destinations. Based on visitor volume and spend for the 2017 calendar year, the in-depth analysis also provides a growth forecast for 2018 and a view into average length of stay and amount spent per day.

As one of the fastest growing tourism regions in the world, Southeast Asia attracted some of the highest spending visitors. The top three Southeast Asian destinations within the Global Top 10 by Expenditure – Singapore, Bangkok and Phuket – captured US$43.85 billion of total expenditure by international overnight tourists. Singapore retained its lead as the top city in terms of visitor expenditure, attracting the highest spending visitors at US$286 per day, sealing its status as a renowned shopper’s destination in Asia Pacific.

Newcomer to the Index, Phuket, Thailand, debuted straight in the Top 10 destinations list, with an average daily spend of US$239, the second highest in the sub-region.

“Tourism is an important contributor to urban economies and Singapore’s diverse offerings from its vibrant events all-year-round, unique tourist attractions and world-renowned cuisine have enabled the city to hold its place as one of the top five most popular destinations globally. The healthy year-on-year growth in visitor arrivals and the highest overall tourist expenditure in Asia demonstrates the strong partnerships between government and businesses in attracting travelers from all around the world, and in turn, powering up the sector’s role in the local economy.” said Deborah Heng, Country Manager, Mastercard Singapore.

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