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Every year, Mastercard puts together its Global Destination Cities Index, which ranks 200 cities around the world based on how popular they are with tourists. The survey not only culls visitor numbers and travel spending data—think airline ticket purchases and souvenir buying—but also predicts where people will be visiting within the next year. The company just released its most recent index, with the places on track to be 2019's most visited cities. Check out how how this year's list stacks up.
This article was originally published in 2015. It has been updated with new information.
Number of overnight visitors: 22.78 million
For the past six out of seven years, Bangkok has been the most popular city for international travelers, thanks in large part to its appealing mix of historical sites and modern hot spots: the gilded Grand Palace complex, the luxurious Mandarin Oriental, the canals and alleys filled with street food vendors—and that's just the start.
Number of overnight visitors: 19.10 million
It's nearly impossible to resist the charms of France's capital—and more than 19 million travelers obviously agree. The city is known for its chic hotels and inimitable restaurants, which might explain why within the top ten, it's second only to Dubai in terms of dollars spent per day ($296). Totally worth it.
Number of overnight visitors: 19.09 million
There's so much to do in London, it bears repeat visits. An efficient transportation system means you won't have to blow your budget on transportation here, which frees you up to spend your dollars at the city's new David Bowie-themed bar and 2019 Hot List-winning Bankside Hotel—and maybe pick up a bespoke suit while you're at it.
Number of overnight visitors: 15.93 million
It seems like Dubai will never stop trying to outdo itself. Within the past year, the city opened Massimo Bottura's new restaurant at at W Dubai The Palm and introduced resident DJs at its international airport (because of course). But all that pomp seems to be paying off—quite literally. Tourists spent an incredible $553 per day there this past year.
Number of overnight visitors: 14.67 million
Even if you didn't hop onboard the Crazy Rich Asians train in 2018 (shame!), you probably know a little bit about this alluring city. Not only does Singapore have the world's best airport—one that got a major upgrade this year—and most Instagrammable hotel, but its street food continues to reign supreme.
Number of overnight visitors: 13.79 million
One of the world's best cities for street food has also proven to be an all-around holiday destination. Visitors spend an average of 5.7 nights in the Malaysian capital, but with so many great hotels to stay in (we're looking at you, Grand Hyatt and Shangri-La), we suggest you go ahead and stay a full week.
Number of overnight visitors: 13.60 million
From the Italian restaurants of the Lower East Side to the sky-high hotels of Midtown, there's no city on earth quite as energetic (or caffeinated) as New York City. We can't blame overnight visitors for spending an average of $152 per day—and stretching their visits to 7.9 nights—here.
Number of overnight visitors: 13.40 million
Moving up a spot from last year's list, Istanbul continues to attract visitors with its historic architecture, gorgeous boutiques, and inventive restaurants—not to mention the burgeoning arts scene in the city's Karaköy neighborhood. It's easy to see why our readers voted this gem one of the best cities in the world last year.
Number of overnight visitors: 12.93 million
With more U.S. flights heading to Haneda Airport, a record-breaking number of Michelin-starred restaurants, and preparations in place to host the 2020 Summer Olympics, there's never been a better time to visit the best city in the world, as voted by our readers.
Number of overnight visitors: 12.41 million
Antalya was narrowly edged out by Seoul in 2018, but the resort city finally broke into the top 10 this year—and for good reason. Aside from its beachside hotels and epic Roman ruins, Antalya also happens to be situated along Turkey's Turquoise Coast—one of the country's most scenic (and one of our favorite) places to spend a summer vacation.
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