Home might be where the heart is, but travel opens the door to two of life’s biggest pleasures: dining and shopping. The Global Destination Cities Index: Indulgences takes a deep dive into where visitors spend the most on these two categories in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC). The amount isn’t insignificant (over $1.5 billion pours into the Cancun economy in just these categories from international visitors), nor is the impact those dollars have on cities’ local economies and the wallets of travelers who go there.

The lists are an extension of the Mastercard Global Destination Cities Index, which ranks 162 cities in terms of total international overnight visitors and the amount spent by visitors.

 

TOP CITIES FOR DINING (FOOD & BEVERAGES)

 

Whether it be mangú in Punta Cana, tacos and margaritas in Cancun or Riviera Maya, or snacking on empanadas in Santiago, people are eating—and spending—in these four cities more than any others. Destinations such as Mexico City and Panama City are also in the top 10 for overall spend, but it’s worth noting that travelers are spending a lower percentage of their travel budgets on food in those cities, 20.5% and 13.2%, respectively.

Top LAC Cities for Dining, Ranked by Dollars Spent
  City 2017 Expenditure on Food & Beverage (USD) 2017 Expenditure (USD) 2017 Share of Overall Expenditure Spent on Food & Beverage
1 Punta Cana, Dominican Republic $1.16 billion $4.16 billion 27.9%
2 Cancun, Mexico $1.04 billion $5.20 billion 20.0%
3 Riviera Maya, Mexico $0.68 billion $3.20 billion 21.2%
4 Santiago, Chile $0.60 billion $2.22 billion 26.9%
5 Buenos Aires, Argentina $0.52 billion $1.56 billion 33.3%
6 Sao Paulo, Brazil $0.45 billion $1.35 billion 33.3%
7 Mexico City, Mexico $0.40 billion $1.96 billion 20.5%
8 Lima, Peru $0.40 billion $1.40 billion 28.6%
9 Panama City, Panama $0.39 billion $2.94 billion 13.2%
10 Cusco, Peru $0.31 billion $1.10 billion 28.6%

 

Top LAC Cities for Dining, Ranked by Share of Overall Expenditure Spent on Food & Beverage
  City 2017 Expenditure on Food & Beverage (USD) 2017 Expenditure (USD) 2017 Share of Overall Expenditure Spent on Food & Beverage
1 Buenos Aires, Argentina $0.52 billion $1.56 billion 33.30%
2 Sao Paulo, Brazil $0.45 billion $1.35 billion 33.30%
3 Lima, Peru $0.40 billion $1.40 billion 28.60%
4 Cusco, Peru $0.31 billion $1.27 billion 28.60%
5 Punta Cana, Dominican Republic $1.16 billion $4.16 billion 27.90%
6 Santiago, Chile $0.60 billion $2.22 billion 26.90%
7 Riviera Maya, Mexico $0.68 billion $3.20 billion 21.20%
8 Mexico City, Mexico $0.40 billion $1.96 billion 20.50%
9 Cancun, Mexico $1.04 billion $5.20 billion 20.00%
10 Panama City, Panama $0.39 billion $2.94 billion 13.20%

 

TOP CITIES FOR SHOPPING

GDCI: Indulgences reveals that travelers are also spending big in Panama City and Santiago when it comes to shopping, whether purchasing clothes, souvenirs or other goods. Visitors to these cities in particular, might want to bring a bigger suitcase. These cities rank first not only in total dollars spent on shopping, but also share of overall expenditure on shopping.

Top LAC Cities for Shopping, Ranked by Dollars Spent
  City 2017 Expenditure on Shopping (USD) 2017 Expenditure (USD) 2017 Share of Overall Expenditure Spent on Shopping
1 Panama City, Panama $0.88 billion $2.94 billion 30.00%
2 Santiago, Chile $0.49 billion $2.22 billion 22.20%
3 Cancun, Mexico $0.47 billion $5.20 billion 9.00%
4 Riviera Maya, Mexico $0.30 billion $3.20 billion 9.30%
5 Punta Cana, Dominican Republic $0.25 billion $4.16 billion 6.10%
6 Mexico City, Mexico $0.24 billion $1.96 billion 12.50%
7 Lima, Peru $0.20 billion $1.40 billion 14.30%
8 Cusco, Peru $0.16 billion $1.27 billion 14.30%
9 Buenos Aires, Argentina $0.15 billion $1.56 billion 9.30%
10 Sao Paulo, Brazil $0.13 billion $1.35 billion 9.30%

 

Top LAC Cities for Shopping, Ranked by Share of Overall Expenditure Spent on Shopping
  City 2017 Expenditure on Shopping (USD) 2017 Expenditure (USD) 2017 Share of Overall Expenditure Spent on Shopping
1 Panama City, Panama $0.88 billion $2.94 billion 30.00%
2 Santiago, Chile $0.49 billion $2.22 billion 22.20%
3 Lima, Peru $0.20 billion $1.40 billion 14.30%
4 Cusco, Peru $0.16 billion $1.27 billion 14.30%
5 Mexico City, Mexico $0.24 billion $1.96 billion 12.50%
6 Riviera Maya, Mexico $0.30 billion $3.20 billion 9.30%
7 Buenos Aires, Argentina $0.15 billion $1.56 billion 9.30%
8 Sao Paulo, Brazil $0.13 billion $1.35 billion 9.30%
9 Cancun, Mexico $0.47 billion $5.20 billion 9.00%
10 Punta Cana, Dominican Republic $0.25 billion $4.16 billion 6.10%

 

There are four cities on the top lists for dining shopping in LAC that are also a part of the Mastercard Priceless Cities experiential travel platform where travelers from over 90 countries can access unique and unforgettable experiences in over 40 cities around the world.

“Whether at home or on the road, nothing brings people together like food. It’s an experience like no other, allowing people to connect with the culture, history and unique flavor of each place they visit,” says Monica Biagiotti, executive vice president of consumer marketing and sponsorships at Mastercard. “Experiences are at the heart of what travelers’ value, which is why we offer programs like Priceless Cities to allow travelers to dive into each city’s unique culture.”

Mastercard is focused on helping cardholders travel the world with peace of mind through seamless planning, conveniences and connectivity at the destination and worry-free acceptance at millions of locations around the globe. Compelling travel offerings and benefits help travelers every step of their journey. More information can be found at mastercard.com.

 

The Mastercard Global Destination Cities Index and GDCI: Play Index, a breakout report focused on the top leisure destinations, were released earlier this year.

 

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About the Mastercard Global Destination Cities Index

The Mastercard Index of Global Destination Cities ranks cities in terms of the number of their total international overnight visitor arrivals and the cross-border spending by these same visitors in the destination cities in 2017, and gives international overnight visitor growth forecasts for 2018.

 

Public data is used in deriving the international overnight visitor arrivals and their cross-border spending in each of the 162 destination cities.

 

Forecasts are based upon the weighted average of the national level tourism forecasts and the actual 2018 monthly data at the destination level, which is available to the latest month before release.

 

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

 

About Mastercard

Mastercard (NYSE: MA), www.mastercard.com, 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 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 @MastercardNews, join the discussion on the Beyond the Transaction Blog and subscribe for the latest news on the Engagement Bureau.