MasterCard’s “Worldwide Index of Global Destination Cities” predicted that London will see 16.9 million people arrive by air compared with a million less for second place city Paris and miles ahead of New York at 13th place with 7.6 million arrivals.
No Australian cities made the top 20, but Sydney rated the highest in the rankings, expecting 2.5 million visitors.
The index also said that London, for the second year running, will attract the highest international visitor spend at 21.1 million dollars, just ahead of New York at 19.4 million dollars, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.
Sydney ranked 3rd for the Asia-Pacific region for highest spend with 11 million dollars, behind Bangkok and Singapore.
“London offers better value for money than New York,” MasterCard Worldwide’s global economic advisor Yuwa Hedrick-Wong said.
The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee saw London fill with visitors from abroad and around Britain for four days of celebrations at the start of June and the Olympics which will take place at venues in and around London from July 27 to August 12 is expected to pull in visitors from all over the planet.
“As our fantastic Diamond Jubilee celebrations demonstrated, London knows how to throw a party and, as we prepare to host the greatest Games the world has ever seen, it is no surprise our capital is the top choice for tourists,” London Mayor Boris Johnson said in a statement along with Mastercard’s index.
Well established international destination Bangkok was the other big winner in the index at third place with 12.2 million visitors who will spend 19.3 million dollars.
The Index, which encompasses 132 of the world’s most important cities, is being marketed as a new map for understanding global connectivity.
Businesses and investors might find the Index’s list of city growth rates of more interest than current rankings. Brazilian and Chinese cities also featured highly in the survey for both visitor numbers and spending.
Using information gleaned from 87 airlines, national tourism boards, the United Nations and other global agencies, the MasterCard Index offers an optimistic overall forecast.
Total visitor numbers and cross-border spending will increase by 5.7 per cent and 10.6 per cent respectively for the top 20 destination cities in 2012.
World’s top 20 destinations for 2012 are:
6. Hong Kong
10. Kuala Lumpur
13. New York
Spotted: Virat Kohli, Anushka Sharma and other celebs at Mumbai airport
Photos: Salman Khan's 'special friend' Iulia Vantur at a song launch
Photos: Hrithik Roshan, Anushka Sharma, other celebs dazzle at event
In Pictures: Sex scandals involving Indian politicians
Photos: Abhishek Bachchan and Farah Khan at Boman Irani's birthday bash