S'pore ranks 7th among top 10 destination cities

S'pore ranks 7th among top 10 destination cities
A group of tourists at the Merlion Park.

Singapore is once again placed among the world's top 10 destination cities, according to this year's MasterCard Index of Global Destination Cities (GDCI). But the Republic's ranking has slipped to seventh place with an estimated 11.88 million international overnight visitors for 2015, from sixth place in 2014.

The index annually charts 132 cities based on projections of total international visitor arrivals (by air), and their cross-border spending within these cities.

This year, London topped the index with 18.82 million expected international visitors, followed closely by Bangkok with 18.24 million.

For Asia-Pacific cities, Kuala Lumpur, Seoul, and Hong Kong are also among the global top 10 destination cities - occupying eighth, ninth and 10th places respectively.

Most of Singapore's international visitors come predominantly from Asian cities such as Jakarta, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Manila and Shanghai, causing the change in the Republic's ranking this year.

According to the index, if a particular city's international visitors span globally and across a diverse range of sources, the destination city is said to be more resilient to variation in ranking.

Singapore ranked 10th in resilience, with Istanbul coming in first place with the most diversified set of international visitors.

However, Singapore has maintained itself as a magnet for tourist spending worldwide. It ranks fifth internationally in visitors' cross-border spending with an expected US$14.7 billion, and second in the Asia-Pacific region, after Seoul's expected visitor spending of US$15.2 billion.

"Despite competition from neighbouring markets, Singapore has proven resilient with visitor numbers growing steadily since the Index was created five years ago," said Deborah Heng, group head and general manager, Singapore for MasterCard.

"For Singapore to remain attractive, the key is to ensure that we continue to push the envelope with innovation and partnerships that draw tourists to stay longer and spend in Singapore."

Buttressing this optimism, Yuwa Hedrick-Wong, chief economist and chair of the Academic Advisory Council at the MasterCard Center for Inclusive Growth, said: "Against a background of generally weak global economic growth and anemic pace of exports, a vibrant tourism sector is providing a powerful boost to income and job creation in Asia Pacific.

"Even more astonishing is that seven out of the world's top 10 fastest growing destination cities are in Asia Pacific, which is a strong leading indicator of their continuing outstanding performance in the years to come."

This article was first published on June 4, 2015.
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