Global Destination Cities Index: From Insights to Impact

Tuesday, February 5, 2019
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For more information on this topic, join Mastercard for their webinar on Thursday, February 7, 2:00 p.m. ET.

Tourism continues to outgrow global GDP, making it one of the world’s largest industries. With such growth comes challenges. Mastercard, along with global partners, are tackling those challenges. Mastercard is in a unique position to bring together travel and hospitality organizations, ensuring connected and inclusive experiences for tourists and locals in destinations.

Now, more than ever, international travel takes on greater importance—breaking down barriers, broadening horizons and driving economic impact across the world’s cities.

Key travel and tourism stakeholders are tasked with destination marketing and infrastructure investments to support growth and enhance the visitor and resident experience in cities and destinations. However, important decision-making often relies on partial and outdated data and less sophisticated tools.

For the past decade, the Mastercard Global Destination Cities Index has offered an important analysis of travel to and within cities. 2018 marked a slight shift for in the approach as we expanded our analysis to include 162 cities across the globe. The research provides:

  • Total international visitor volume and spend for 2018.
  • Total international visitor spending.
  • Average length of stay.
  • Amount spent per day.
  • Traveler home markets.  

The highlight feature of the index are the top 10 destinations with overall international visitors. Bangkok topped the list this year, pushing past the 20 million visitor mark. The top 10 cities include:

  • Bangkok, London, Paris, Dubai, Singapore, New York, Kuala Lumpur, Tokyo, Istanbul, Seoul

While the ranking on total visitors garners headlines, Mastercard digs deeper into additional data that can have a meaningful impact on tourism for a destination. These more robust metrics include total spending, length of stay, spend per day and spend categories, providing more details on how and where the economic benefit is being distributed. Mastercard also views growth and traveler home markets, resulting in actionable insights for attracting visitors that can help sustain long-term tourism. 

Mastercard is a connector. They bring together public, private and institutional partners to shape tourism for tomorrow by harnessing secure and innovative technologies based on global standards, data insights and loyalty solutions. Subsequently, tourism partners are able to deliver more connected and inclusive tourism experiences for their customers.  A prime example of this partnership is with NYC & Company.  

New York consistently ranks as one of the top cities for both travel and dining on the Mastercard Global Destination Cities Index. To enable residents and visitors to take in some of the experiences New York has to offer, Mastercard teamed up with NYC & Company to deliver market and traveler insights. You can find out more about the partnership here. The core of the collaboration is to support NYC & Company’s business-to-business partners to more effectively communicate the dynamic city to audiences around the world.

* The forecasts are based on the weighted average from two sources: national level forecasts from the World Travel and Tourism Council or the national tourism boards and actual real time monthly data at the destination levels that is available to the latest month before release.

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