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S'pore is no. 1 in Asia for international visitor spending

 Singapore overtook Bangkok to take the top spot for international visitor spending in the Asia Pacific, MasterCard said on Wednesday.

SINGAPORE: Singapore overtook Bangkok to take the top spot for international visitor spending in the Asia Pacific, MasterCard said on Wednesday, highlighting the city-state's growing prominence as one of the world's "destination cities".

The credit card company estimated overnight visitors to Singapore will spend US$14.3 billion this year -- a rise of 7.6 percent from 2013.

In contrast, Bangkok is expected to suffer a 17.7 percent drop in spending by overnight visitors to US$13 billion, on account of the political unrest that has plagued Thailand since the latter part of 2013.

Matthew Driver, MasterCard's president for Southeast Asia, said Singapore offers a diverse mix of attractions to visitors in multiple segments, thanks to close collaboration between the government and industry.

Dr Yuwa Hedrick-Wong, global economic advisor to MasterCard, said international visitors constitute a powerful transformational force that impacts businesses as well as culture.

"Since 2009, we've seen cross-border travel and associated spending growing at faster rates than real world GDP," he said.

In terms of visitor numbers, Singapore ranks fourth globally with 12.47 million international overnight visitors expected this year.

London topped the list with an expected 18.69 million international overnight visitors, followed by Bangkok in second place and Paris in third. 

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