January 17, 2015

January 17, 2015
Top 20 Cities for Tourists

Welcome to another day in my life. Today is Saturday and I hope your weekend is off to a beary safe and great start. It is another busy weekend for Dab the AIDS Bear. The bear will be at events in San Diego and August, GA this weekend.

Speaking of travel, which cities do you think are the most popular with travelers? Today and tomorrow, I will blog about the top twenty cities for tourists.

20. Lima, Peru

A relative newcomer to the MasterCard index, Lima’s rise shows a growing interest in South American tourism. Many travelers who want to visit Machu Picchu begin their journey in Lima, but the city is a destination in its own right, with a burgeoning foodie scene and a historic city center that is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

19. Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo welcomed 5.3 million tourists last year, who spent about $7.4 billion altogether. Those numbers are bound to grow when Tokyo hosts the Summer Olympics in 2020. Until then, visitors continue to flock to the city for its luxury hotels, incredible food, and hip (dare we say, hipster) neighborhoods.

18. Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Many of the visitors to Riyadh travel from other spots in Saudi Arabia, particularly the holy cities of Mecca and Medina, the former of which every Muslim must try to visit to complete the hajj pilgrimage. At 5.6 million visitors in 2014, Riyadh beats out Abu Dhabi, Johannesburg, Cape Town, and every city in the Middle East and Africa except for Dubai.

17. Vienna, Austria

Vienna dropped one spot from last year, with just over 6 million tourists visiting. Still, it’s growing in visitor spending, beating out both Milan (no. 13 on MasterCard’s list) and Berlin (which didn’t make the cut). There’s much more to Austria’s capital than the classical music and art that made it famous—it’s one of the most eco-friendly cities in Europe.

16. Shanghai, China

Shanghai is another up-and-comer on the list, moving up one spot from last year’s ranking. The Chinese metropolis offers a relative bargain compared to other cities on the list, as it ranks lowest in per-visitor daily spending, just $238. And although it’s popular with business travelers, Shanghai also claims a buzzy art scene.

15. Taipei, Taiwan

Taipei received 6.3 million visitors last year, more than double the city’s population of 2.6 million. Business travelers make up a big percentage of visitors to Taipei, but this emerging city is actively courting Western tourists and adding new air routes that make it easier to visit. We recently deemed Taiwan’s capital “the best Asian food city that no one is talking about,” so visit before it gets too crowded.

14. Rome, Italy

Milan edged out Rome as the most popular destination in Italy, with 6.82 million visitors to Rome’s 6.79 million. Still, the Eternal City had an uptick in both the number of tourists and the amount of money spent per person, and it remains beloved by Conde Nast Traveler readers, who voted it their seventh-favorite city in the world.

13. Milan, Italy

Milan is home to Italy’s Fashion Week, but the fashion-conscious city slipped slightly this year, coming in at no. 13 overall and sixth in Europe. The reason for its slight decline? Although it had almost the same number of tourists in 2013 and 2014, the average amount spent per person went down.

12. Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Amsterdam is on the rise this year, overtaking Milan to hit no. 12 on MasterCard’s index. The Dutch capital is known for its easygoing, bike-friendly lifestyle and for its hip design scene, especially among its hotels.

11. Barcelona, Spain

Barcelona came in at no. 9 on Traveler's readers’ choice list of the top 25 cities in 2014. The beachfront city beloved by art lovers is a perennial hit with travelers, with 7.37 million people passing through this year. Despite being lower on the list than Istanbul, Barcelona wins out in the amount of tourist money being spent: $11.2 billion compared to Istanbul’s $9.4 billion.

Tomorrow, I will blog about the top 10 cities for tourists. Hope you have a beary safe and great Saturday!

Until we meet again; here's wishing you health, hope, happiness and just enough.

big bear hug,

Daddy Dab