Two Spanish destinations have been included in the latest Global Destination Cities Index compiled by Mastercard. Barcelona is 17th on a 2019 list headed by Bangkok for a fourth consecutive year, while Palma de Mallorca is 18th.
The index ranks 200 cities based on proprietary analysis of publicly available visitor volume and spend data. In 2018, Bangkok had 22.78 million overnight visitors, followed by Paris and London (who changed positions this year) holding number two and three spots with 19.10 million and 19.09 million visitors, respectively.
According to Mastercard, all top 10 cities welcomed more international overnight visitors in 2018 compared with the previous year (apart from London, which decreased nearly four per cent). The 2019 forecast indicates across-the-board growth, with Tokyo expecting the largest boost in visitors.
“Over the past 10 years,” notes Mastercard, “the world has seen economic ebbs and flows, evolving global competition and partnership, and boundless technological innovation. But one thing has remained constant: people’s growing desire to travel the world, visit new landscapes and immerse themselves in other cultures.”
Each year, says Diana Muñoz Robino, senior vice president of global tourism partnerships for Mastercard, more people are travelling internationally and spending more in the cities. Between all of the destinations within the index, arrivals have grown on average 6.5 per cent year-over-year since 2009, with expenditure growing an average of 7.4 per cent.
“While there has been significant movement in visitors to smaller cities, the top 10 has remained largely consistent. London, Paris, and Bangkok have been the top three since 2010, with Bangkok as number one six of the past seven years. New York is another top 10 stalwart, with 13.6 million overnight visitors.
“Cities in Asia-Pacific have seen the largest increase in international travellers since 2009, growing 9.4 per cent. In comparison, Europe, which saw the second highest growth, was up 5.5 per cent. This is spurred on by the growth in mainland Chinese travellers. Since 2009, mainland China has jumped six places to be the number two origin country for travellers to the 200 included destinations – behind only the U.S (10 per cent of share contribution).” Spain is 13th on this list, with a 1.8 per cent share.
For more insight into why Barcelona is such an attractive destination for international travellers, check out our Area Guides.
Top 10 Global Destinations
- Kuala Lumpur
- New York
Number of travellers: Barcelona (17th) – 9.09 million; Palma de Mallorca (18th) – 8.96 million
Top 10 Countries of Origin
- United States
- Mainland China
- United Kingdom
- South Korea
Top 3 destinations for…
U.S. travellers: Cancun, Toronto and London
U.K. travellers: Palma de Mallorca, Paris, Dublin
Spanish travellers: Paris, London, Lisbon