1) Bangkok, Thailand
Bangkok is one of the world’s top tourist destinations. Of 162 cities worldwide, MasterCard ranked Bangkok as the top destination city by international visitor arrivals in its Global Destination Cities Index 2018, ahead of London, with just over 20 million overnight visitors in 2017. This was a repeat of its 2017 ranking (for 2016). Euromonitor International ranked Bangkok fourth in its Top City Destinations Ranking for 2016. Bangkok was also named “World’s Best City” by Travel + Leisure magazine’s survey of its readers for four consecutive years, from 2010 to 2013. As the main gateway through which visitors arrive in Thailand, Bangkok is visited by the majority of international tourists to the country. Domestic tourism is also prominent. The Department of Tourism recorded 26,861,095 Thai and 11,361,808 foreign visitors to Bangkok in 2010. Lodgings were made by 15,031,244 guests, who occupied 49.9 percent of the city’s 86,687 hotel rooms. Bangkok also topped the list as the world’s most popular tourist destinations in 2018 rankings.
2) Paris, France
Greater Paris, comprising Paris and its three surrounding departments, received 24.5 million visitors in 2018, measured by hotel arrivals. These included 11.2 million French visitors. Of foreign visitors, the greatest number came from the United States (2.4 million), Great Britain (1.2 million), Germany (918 thousand) and China (799 thousand).
In 2018, measured by the MasterCard Global Cities Destination Index, Paris was the second-busiest airline destination in the world, with 19.10 million visitors, behind Bangkok (22.78 million) but ahead of London (19.09 million). According to the Paris Convention and Visitors Bureau, 393,008 workers in Greater Paris, or 12.4% of the total workforce, are engaged in tourism-related sectors such as hotels, catering, transport, and leisure.
3) London, England
London is one of the leading tourist destinations in the world and in 2015 was ranked as the most visited city in the world with over 65 million visits. It is also the top city in the world by visitor cross-border spending, estimated at US$20.23 billion in 2015. Tourism is one of London’s prime industries, employing the equivalent of 350,000 full-time workers in 2003, and the city accounts for 54% of all inbound visitor spending in the UK. As of 2016 London is the world top city destination as ranked by TripAdvisor users.
Within the City of Westminster in London, the entertainment district of the West End has its focus around Leicester Square, where London and world film premieres are held, and Piccadilly Circus, with its giant electronic advertisements. London’s theatre district is here, as are many cinemas, bars, clubs, and restaurants, including the city’s Chinatown district (in Soho), and just to the east is Covent Garden, an area housing speciality shops. The city is the home of Andrew Lloyd Webber, whose musicals have dominated the West End theatre since the late 20th century. The United Kingdom’s Royal Ballet, English National Ballet, Royal Opera, and English National Opera are based in London and perform at the Royal Opera House, the London Coliseum, Sadler’s Wells Theatre, and the Royal Albert Hall, as well as touring the country.