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The Most Visited Cities in the World Might Surprise You

Jo Piazza
Managing Editor
July 17, 2014

London (Photo: Thinkstock)

Cheerio to London! The city is holding strong as the top destination for international travelers for the third time in four years, according to the annual MasterCard Global Destination Cities Index. But the other cities rounding out the index may surprise you. 

Bangkok, Singapore, and Dubai all saw a surge in international visitors this year that is expected to continue growing with advances in technology and a rising middle class in emerging markets. 

Related: The Lowdown on London’s Heathrow Airport

It has been a tight race between London and Bangkok for the No. 1 position in the last few years. Bangkok first overtook London in 2013 to become the top-ranked destination city in the world, but London regained the top rank this year with an 8 percent growth in visitors versus an 11 percent decline in Bangkok’s visitors due to political unrest in Thailand. 

Half of the top destination cities in the index were in Asia, while the United States has only one city, New York, in the top 10. 

Dubai’s international visitors are surging, with a growth rate of 7.5 percent. If current growth persists, Dubai is poised to overtake both Paris and Singapore as an international destination within the next five years.

Here are the top destinations that people are visiting right now:

Related: Is it Safe to Visit Thailand Right Now?

London (Photo: Thinkstock)

1. London — Expects 18.7 million visitors in 2014.

Bangkok (Photo: Thinkstock)

2. Bangkok — Expects 16.42 million visitors in 2014.

Paris (Photo: Thinkstock)

3. Paris — Expects 15.57 million visitors in 2014.

Singapore (Photo: Thinkstock)

4. Singapore — Expects 12.47 million visitors in 2014.

Dubai (Photo: Thinkstock)

5. Dubai — Expects 11.95 million visitors in 2014.

New York (Photo: Thinkstock)

6. New York — Expects 11.81 million visitors in 2014.

Istanbul (Photo: Thinkstock)

7. Istanbul — Expects 11.6 million visitors in 2014.

Kuala Lumpur (Photo: Thinkstock)

8. Kuala Lumpur — Expects 10.81 million visitors in 2014.

Hong Kong (Photo: Thinkstock)

9. Hong Kong — Expects 8.84 million visitors in 2014.

Seoul (Photo: Thinkstock)

10. Seoul — Expects 8.63 million visitors in 2014.

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