Globalization has made the world smaller and the stats reflect that. The tourist industry has grown rapidly over the last 50 years.
A record 467 million tourists traveled in the first half of 2012 alone. But which cities are benefiting the most from the industry?
These are the top 10 most internationally visited cities in the world
10. Shanghai, China: 6.7 million visitors per year. Over the past 20 years China’s most developed city has become increasingly popular with tourists. Attractions include the Bund and the City God Temple.
9. Hong Kong: 7 million visitors per year. This major financial city has multiple personalities. It is often called the place where “East meets West”. It may be loud, busy, and crazy, but one thing is for sure- you will never forget it. Attractions include The Peak, Avenue of Stars, and Hong Kong Disneyland.
8. Istanbul, Turkey: 7.5 million visitors per year. One of Europe’s Capitals of Cultures in 2010, Istanbul has come on leaps and bounds in the past decade. As Turkey tries to achieve European Union ascension, Istanbul benefits with new roads and funding. The city’s over-abundance of historic buildings, art galleries, and museums provide visitors with more than enough to see during the day. Additionally, the city has a swinging nightlife with trendy bars, restaurants, and nightclubs.
7. Dubai, United Arab Emirates: 7.6 million visitors per year. A relatively new tourism destination, Dubai is essentially a desert city, an oasis of outrageous wealth. If you are looking for pure luxury and the world’s most amazing tourist amenities, i.e. indoor skinning center, then this is your place.
6. New York, United States: 8.7 million visitors per year. There is almost too much to say about New York. Some of the major destinations here are Empire State Building, Ellis Island, Statue of Liberty, museums such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Broadway theater productions, Central Park, and Washington Square Park, Times Square, and Rockefeller Center.
5. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia: 8.9 million visitors per year. Known as simply KL to locals, Kuala Lumpur is the federal capital and the largest city in Malaysia. The city is home to the outstanding Petronas Towers, which were the tallest buildings in the world from 1998-2004.
4. Singapore, Singapore: 9.7 million visitors per year. The city combines the skyscrapers and subways of a modern, wealthy city with a mix of Malay, Chinese, and Indian influences. Singapore’s casino resorts are world famous and bring in millions of dollars every year.
3. Bangkok, Thailand: 10.2 million visitors per year. Bangkok is one of the most unique cities in the world and is a place you either love or hate. Its high-rise buildings, powerful heat, heavy traffic, and seedy nightlife are certaintly not for everyone. The major attractions include the Grand Palace, Wat Pho, and Wat Arun.
2. London, United Kingdom: 14 million visitors per year. The main attractions include Covent Garden, London Eye, Trafalgar Square, London Zoo, the Globe Theatre, the Natural History Museum, Big Ben, the Charles Dickens Museum and Madame Tussauds.
1. Paris, France: 14.8 million visitors per year. France’s capital is also considered the world’s romantic capital. It is also dubbed the Capital of Fashion and is home to Chanel No.5, Christian Dior, Yves Saint-Laurent, Guerlain, Lancôme, L’Oréal, and Clarins.