Bangkok slips as top destination

London has overtaken Bangkok as the top destination for international travellers on the MasterCard Global Destination Cities Index, as political unrest in the Southeast Asian city kept visitors away.

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Bangkok may draw 16.4 million international overnight visitors this year, an 11% decline from 2013, the index showed. London retook the top spot with an 8% increase in travellers to 18.7 million. Four other Asian cities — Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong and Seoul — also ranked among the top 10 destinations.

“The prominence of the Southeast Asian cities on the index demonstrates the importance that trade and tourism plays in these economies,” Matthew Driver, Southeast Asia president of MasterCard Inc, said in a statement.

These cities “have clearly benefited from a deliberate and ongoing investment in travel capacity and infrastructure,” he said.

Bangkok also lost its position as the top Asian city in terms of international visitor spending on the index that ranks 132 cities on the basis of total international visitors, as well as cross-border spending by them.

The Thai capital may see an estimated $13.04 billion in spending this year, behind Singapore at $14.34 billion, it showed.

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