Inbound arrivals to Bangkok grew 28.6% in 2015, with three Thai destinations securing top 10 positions

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Singapore – 27 January, 2016 – Bangkok has increased its lead over the pack as the region’s most popular destination, with international overnight visitors breaking the 20 million mark for the first time, according to the results of the inaugural MasterCard Asia Pacific Destinations Index released today. Second place was a close fight between Singapore and Tokyo[1].

The inaugural index provides a ranking of 167 destinations across Asia Pacific.

Thailand dominated the top ten destinations, taking three of the top ten rankings, with Phuket securing fifth place (9.3 million) and the coastal city of Pattaya coming in at eighth place (8.1 million).

Half of the top 10 destinations saw 10 percent growth or more in international overnight visitor numbers between 2014 and 2015 – Osaka (54.0 percent), Tokyo (53.2 percent), Bangkok (28.6 percent), Phuket (15.5 percent) and Pattaya (10.0 percent).

The top 20 destinations of Asia Pacific represent around half of all international overnight arrivals to the 167 Asia Pacific destinations covered by the Index.

The top ten Asia Pacific destinations ranked by international overnight visitor numbers:

1.       Bangkok – 21.9 million
2.       Singapore – 11.8 million
3.       Tokyo  – 11.8 million
4.       Kuala Lumpur – 11.3 million
5.       Phuket – 9.3 million
6.       Seoul – 9.2 million
7.       Hong Kong – 8.3 million
8.       Pattaya – 8.1 million
9.       Bali – 7.2 million
10.     Osaka – 6.5 million

Bangkok also ranked number one in total expenditure at US$15.2 billion, with Seoul (US$14.4 billion) coming in second place, followed by Singapore (US$14.1 billion), Tokyo (US$11.9 billion) and Kuala Lumpur (US$10.5 billion). Asia Pacific’s tourism industry is the largest in the world by total contribution to GDP, having overtaken Europe in 2014. Tourism contributed US$2.27 trillion to Asia Pacific economies and 153.7 million jobs in 2015[2].

The top ten Asia Pacific destinations by total expenditure:

1.       Bangkok – US$15.2 billion
2.       Seoul – US$14.4 billion
3.       Singapore  – US$14.1 billion
4.       Tokyo – US$11.9 billion
5.       Kuala Lumpur – US$10.5 billion
6.       Bali – US$10.3 billion
7.       Taipei – US$9.5 billion
8.       Phuket – US$8.0 billion
9.       Hong Kong – US$6.7 billion
10.     Sydney – US$6.0 billion

Of the top 20 destinations by total expenditure per day, Shanghai (US$269 per day) welcomed the biggest spenders, followed by Beijing (US$262 per day), Seoul (US$258 per day), Singapore (US$255 per day) and Hong Kong (US$240 per day).

Matthew Driver, Group Executive, Global Products & Solutions, Asia Pacific, MasterCard, commented, “The tourism industry in Asia Pacific is continuing to show robust growth with an increasing number of destinations receiving well over five million visitors a year, driven by increased consumer wealth, particularly from China. Our Asia Pacific Destinations Index (APDI) 2015 reveals the continued resilience of the Thailand market for tourism led by a resurgent Bangkok, as well as the return to popularity of Japan for visitors as demonstrated by the more than 50 percent growth year on year in its top four destinations. Providing in-depth analysis of overnight arrivals in 167 Asia Pacific destinations, the APDI can help businesses and governments better understand the underlying components of in-bound tourism demand, so they can plan investment to ensure the sustainable development of the tourism industry. This is becoming increasingly important as tourist numbers continue to rise, as at current growth rates, Asia Pacific will have more than 500 million tourist arrivals by 2020.”

Flickr Photo: Infographic: MasterCard Asia Pacific Destinations Index 2015








The full report can be downloaded from:

About the MasterCard Asia Pacific Destinations Index
The first MasterCard Asia Pacific Destinations Index is an offshoot of MasterCard’s annual Global Destination Cities Index.

In recent years, Asia Pacific cities have increasingly dominated as the fastest growing and most visited destinations in the world. According to 2015’s MasterCard Global Destination Cities Index, five of the ten most visited cities in the world were in Asia Pacific.

The Asia Pacific Destinations Index takes a more in-depth, focused look at these tourism trends, ranking 167 destinations, including island resorts as well as towns and cities across the region, by total number of international overnight arrivals; cross-border spending; and the total number of nights spent at each destination. These 167 destinations are drawn from 22 countries across Asia Pacific and represent 90.1% of all international overnight arrivals within the region.

Public data is used to derive the international overnight visitor arrivals and their cross-border spending in each of the destinations, using custom-made algorithms.

This Index and the accompanying reports are not based on MasterCard volumes or transactional data.

About MasterCard
MasterCard (NYSE: MA),, is a technology company in the global payments industry. We operate the world’s fastest payments processing network, connecting consumers, financial institutions, merchants, governments and businesses in more than 210 countries and territories. MasterCard’s products and solutions make everyday commerce activities – such as shopping, traveling, running a business and managing finances – easier, more secure and more efficient for everyone. Follow us on Twitter @MasterCardAP and @MasterCardNews, join the discussion on the Beyond the Transaction Blog and subscribe for the latest news on the Engagement Bureau.

Media Contacts
Georgette Tan, MasterCard,, +65 6390 5971
Georgina Mallory, Weber Shandwick,, +65 6825 8026
Samantha Yong, Weber Shandwick,, +65 6825 8053

[1]   There are no ties in rank as all apparent ties are due to one decimal rounding

[2]   Travel and Tourism Economic Impact 2014 – Asia Pacific”, World Tourism and Travel Council 2015