Bangkok, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur: they were respectively ranked 2, 4 and 10 when measures in total foreign travellers arrivals in 2015. The study was released a couple of weeks ago by Euromonitor International which looks every year at the progress of urban destinations around the world.
Among the top 20, two more ASEAN destinations are joining the top positions: Phuket, which was ranked 16 and Pattaya ranked 20. In total 13 ASEAN destinations entered the list based on 2015 arrivals.
Euromonitor International analyses that Asian destinations are these days increasingly dependent of the evolution of demand from Chinese travellers.
Hong Kong remained the top city destination by some margin, despite falling arrivals. For example, both Hong Kong and Macau are losing out due as both cities are losing of their attractiveness, especially among young Chinese travellers who are more tempted to venture further out of the Chinese world.
The two countries benefiting greatly from the declining popularity of Hong Kong and Macau were Thailand and Japan, according to Euromonitor. Thailand was fboosted by a more stable political situation, which had suppressed growth in 2014. Bangkok benefited with growth of 10% in international arrivals, resulting in a jump to be ranked as the second largest city. It is likely Bangkok would have registered even stronger growth, but for the Erewan Shrine bombing in August 2015, which saw several countries, including Singapore and the Philippines, issue travel advice urging citizens to take all necessary precautions for personal safety when they are in Thailand.
Another five Thai cities are present in the top 100, with Chiang Mai in particular showing a strong performance. The number of arrivals to the city grew by 40% between 2014 and 2015, albeit from a much smaller base than Bangkok, Phuket and Pattaya. Chiang Mai is a northern city especially popular between December and February, when the climate is cool and plants are in bloom.
Euromonitor International’s Top City Destinations Ranking (2017 edition) was built from the results of the global travel research programme conducted in 58 core countries by in-country analysts, which follows Euromonitor International’s methodology and definitions for travel and tourism.
City arrivals data were sourced directly from national statistics offices, airport arrivals, hotel/accommodation stays or other methods for all 58 core countries and 77 additional market insight countries under review.