The world is filled with amazing cities like Rome, Paris, and Tokyo. Each city stands out in its own unique way and provides diverse experiences to the people travelling there. These cities not only contain a variety of cultural experiences but also form an integral part of the global economy due to their booming tourism industry.
The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) produces an annual report published every two years detailing the most visited cities around the world. The ranking is based both on the number of international visitors and the amount of money they spend in each city. Here is a comprehensive list of the top ten most visited cities in the world.
- Bangkok, Thailand
At the top of the list is Bangkok, the vibrant capital of Thailand. The city is known for its magnificent temples, street markets, and nightlife. Its location near the Chao Phraya River and proximity to the Gulf of Thailand makes it an ideal place for tourists to explore. Furthermore, its affordability and incredible variety of food add to its charm and make Bangkok an attractive place to visit. In 2019, the capital welcomed 22.78 million visitors and is set to remain on top for the foreseeable future.
- London, England
London is the second most visited city in the world, welcoming 19.83 million visitors annually. It is a sprawling metropolis with a rich historical heritage, vibrant culture, and dynamic economy. Tourists can explore some of the most popular tourist attractions such as the London Eye, Buckingham Palace, and the Tower of London. With a plethora of world-class museums and galleries, London is considered one of the cultural capitals of the world.
- Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Rising quickly on the global rankings is Dubai, the most vibrant city in the Middle East. It is famous for its glitz and glamour, with world-famous landmarks such as the Burj Khalifa and Palm Jumeirah dominating the skyline. The sheer variety of things to do and places to visit make Dubai an extremely attractive destination for tourists. In 2020, Dubai welcomed 15.79 million visitors, making it one of the most popular cities in the world.
- Paris, France
Paris has long been considered one of the most romantic cities on Earth and is a top destination for couples. The city is home to some of the world’s most iconic monuments such as the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre Museum. Tourists can also explore the many cafes, patisseries, and local markets which have come to characterize Parisian life. It welcomed 16.08 million visitors in 2019, making it the fourth most visited city in the world.
This energetic city-state is an attractive destination for tourists from all over the world. Famous for its dramatic skyline and modern infrastructure, it is easy to see why Singapore is such a popular place to visit. In addition, the city is home to a number of attractions such as the Singapore Flyer and Sentosa Island. It received 17.4 million visitors in 2020 and is expected to remain a top destination in the years to come.
- New York City, USA
As the city that never sleeps, New York City is one of the most iconic destinations in the world. It is home to countless museums, theaters, galleries, and restaurants, and also serves as the center of American finance, media, fashion, and more. The city’s unique energy and diversity attract travelers from all over the world, with the city welcoming an impressive 14.7 million visitors in 2019.
- Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
The vibrant capital of Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, is a top destination for both tourists and business travelers. The city is home to a mix of modern skyscrapers and colonial buildings, and its many attractions, from the Petronas Twin Towers to the Batu Caves, embody the country’s multicultural heritage. In 2021, Kuala Lumpur received 11.4 million visitors, making it the seventh most visited city in the world.
- Istanbul, Turkey
Istanbul is a city steeped in history, with a cultural heritage that is both exotic and alluring. The bustling metropolis is full of life, and tourists can explore the spectacular Hagia Sophia and the Topkapi Palace or take a leisurely stroll along the Bosphorus. Istanbul welcomed 11.35 million visitors in 2019 and is expected to remain a top destination in the coming years.
- Tokyo, Japan
The buzzing capital of Japan, Tokyo offers tourists a unique window into Japanese culture and a glimpse into the future. It is a city that is always evolving, with modern buildings standing alongside ancient temples. Tourists flocking to Tokyo can experience the famous sushi bars, visit the Imperial Palace, go shopping at Ginza, or learn more about Japanese culture at the many museums in the city. In 2020, it welcomed 11.9 million visitors.
- Seoul, South Korea
The last city on the list is Seoul, the capital of South Korea. The city is incredibly vibrant and has a wide range of attractions, from the iconic Gyeongbokgung Palace to the bustling Myeongdong shopping district. Seoul is home to the world’s largest population of millennials and is a popular destination for young people. It received 10.4 million visitors in 2020 and is ranked tenth in the world for the number of international visitors.
No matter your destination preferences, the list of most visited cities in the world offers something for every kind of traveler. From the modern cities of Tokyo and Dubai to the historical sites of Paris and Istanbul, each of these cities has something unique to offer. Whether you’re looking for a cultural experience, a shopping spree, or just a great night out, these cities won’t let you down.