Led by Toronto, Canadian cities took three of the top eight spots as most popular North American destinations in MasterCard’s 2015 Global Destination Cities Index.
Toronto finished higher than popular US tourist destinations San Francisco, Chicago, Washington, DC, and Boston.
The ranking is based on number of international overnight visitors and how much they spend. Toronto and Vancouver finished fourth and fifth respectively, and Montreal took the eighth spot.
Toronto also ranked among North America’s fastest growing destination cities over the seven-year period MasterCard has been compiling the Index (2009-2015). Over that time, MasterCard has used the Index to chart the popularity of 132 of the world’s most important cities with international travellers.
According to the study, London is projected to receive 18.82 million international visitors in 2015, just slightly ahead of second-ranked Bangkok. The two cities have topped the Index throughout its five-year history.
Forecasted overnight visitors to the rest of the top 10 cities include: Bangkok – 18.24 million visitors; Paris – 16.06 million; Dubai – 14.26 million; Istanbul – 12.56 million; New York – 12.27 million; Singapore – 11.88 million; Kuala Lumpur – 11.12 million; Seoul – 10.35 million; Hong Kong – 8.66 million.
The authors of the Index, economists Dr. Yuwa Hedrick-Wong and Desmond Choong, say it paints a picture of the dynamic connections between the world’s greatest cities, including the rise of emerging or reborn cities and regions due to improving infrastructure and rising discretionary spending on the strength of improved economies.