Last updated: 01:00 PM ET, Thu September 22 2016

Bangkok Tops World's Most Popular Travel Destinations List

Features & Advice Donald Wood September 22, 2016

Bangkok Tops World's Most Popular Travel Destinations List

Photo: Traffic in Bangkok, Thailand. (Photo via Tourism Authority of Thailand)

On Thursday, Mastercard released its annual list of the world's most popular travel destinations for 2016, and Bangkok beat out London for the top spot in the rankings.

According to, Bangkok topped the Mastercard Index of Global Destination Cities list, beating out other major metropolitan areas such as London, Paris and Dubai as the city most visited by international travelers.

In total, Thailand tourism authorities expect to welcome a record 33 million visitors this year, with Bangkok accounting for 21.47 million of those international visitors. London finished in second place with 19.88 million projected visitors in 2016.

London topped the 2015 ranking of global destinations, but dropped to No. 2 in 2016.

“It isn't a flash in the pan. Bangkok is in a strong position to be the top destination city for a long time,” Mastercard chief economist Yuwa Hedrick-Wong told Reuters. “There's the value for money, especially for visitors coming from high-income countries.”

Thailand’s tourism industry has been a bright spot in the economy following a 2014 coup which has weakened consumer confidence and exports. There were also several bombings in the country over the last several months, but they do not appear to have impacted tourism very much.