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5 destinations attract 22% of all international arrivals in Asia Pacific, says Mastercard

Asia Pacific’s five most popular destinations for international travelers – Bangkok, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Tokyo and Seoul – welcomed over one-fifth, or 22 percent, of all overnight visitors to the region’s top 161 cities and regional centers in 2018, according to Mastercard’s Asia Pacific Destinations Index (APDI), a regional subset of the Global Destination Cities Index (GDCI).

Primarily driven by explosive growth in outbound travel from mainland China, these five cities are also capturing more than one-quarter, or 25.2 percent, of total international travel spending in the region.

In 2018, Asia Pacific hosted travelers making 342.2 million business and leisure trips, up from 159.1 million in 2009, representing an 8.9 percent compound annual growth rate (CAGR) over the nine year period. During the same period, travel spending in Asia Pacific more than doubled, rising from US$117.6 billion to US$281.1 billion, equating to a compound annual growth rate of 10.2 percent.

“While the world’s economic, geopolitical, technological and societal landscapes have all changed dramatically since Mastercard launched this research 10 years ago, one thing has remained constant: the desire of ever-growing numbers of people to explore the world beyond their own borders. With the top 20 cities attracting nearly half (49.8 percent) of all international overnight arrivals to the 161 destinations ranked in the APDI, it is important to understand not only how continuously rising travel numbers impact cities and destinations for the better, but also the challenges they pose. This equips governments, merchants and the global travel industry with the information and insights they need to better serve their residents and visitors,” said Rupert Naylor, Senior Vice President, Data & Services, Asia Pacific, Mastercard.

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