Some of these cities won’t surprise you, they’re part of the well-worn tourist track. But a few, including the number 1 spot, are surprising. Here are the 10 most visited cities in the world based on visitor volume and spend.
Turkey is in the headlines for plenty of negative reasons, but that didn’t keep nearly 10 million people from visiting Istanbul in 2016. Straddling Europe and Asia, Istanbul has been a multicultural city from its birth. Visitors can see sites left by the Romans, ancient Egyptians, the Byzantine empire and even early Christians.
Tourism to Tokyo has been on an upward trend. Japan as a whole is well-known for its cultural exports and its largest city is where most people start an exploration of the country. Tokyo is an alluring mix of modern and ancient. Travel to Tokyo is forecasted to grow faster than any other city on this list.
8. Kuala Lumpur
Continuing the trend of high travel rates in Asia is the capital of Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur. Food and lodging in Kuala Lumpur are cheap compared to Singapore and Tokyo and outdoor attractions are easily accessible from the city.
South Korea’s capital city, Seoul, has been a story of incredible growth since the 1960s. The shear amount of people and places in the metroplex area is mind boggling. Around 25 billion people live in Seoul’s metro area and the city has grown to smoothly accommodate the crowds with top notch public transit.
6. New York
America’s most populous city is also a top travel destination. Travel to New York is projected to decline in the coming years, but the big apple continues to attract impressive crowds of over 12 million tourists per year.
Singapore is a business city. Unlike every other city on this list, the majority of travelers to Singapore are traveling for business. There is plenty for the tourist crowd to see and do though, including world-class architecture, dining and Buddhist sites.
The city in the desert, Dubai is the largest city in the United Arab Emirates. Dubai is known for excess. Ultramodern buildings reach into the sky and a completely man-made island in the shape of a palm tree houses resorts and water parks. The excess can be a bit much but visitor growth to Dubai is projected to continue.
Paris is a classic travel choice, beloved the world-around for its food and wine, historical sites and uniquely French architecture. Over 15 million people visit the city of lights annually and it appears that will continue.
Like Paris, London has long been a destination for millions of tourists. London is a city chock full of history and iconic sites. And with an eye-popping 19 million visitors per year, there’s no doubt that London is an international city.
Bangkok, Thailand isn’t a stereotypical travel choice but with 19.41 million visitors in 2016 and visitor numbers projected to grow, Bangkok takes the cake as the most visited city in the world. Bangkok solidifies the trend of growing travel in Asia. The city is vibrant and bursting with culture. It’s also relatively cheap and luxury travelers won’t be amiss. “Exotic” travel is now the new norm.