Singapore fourth most-visited city in the world last year: Study

Singapore fourth most-visited city in the world last year: Study

Merlion tourists
People pose for photographs in front of the iconic Merlion fountain statue. (Photo: AFP)

SINGAPORE: Singapore was the fourth-most visited city in the world last year with 16.6 million visitors to the country, according to Euromonitor's latest ranking of the top 100 tourist destinations released on Tuesday (Nov 7). 

Singapore is tipped to overtake London as the third-most visited city in the world by 2025, "giving the podium fully to Asia", Euromonitor said.

Asian cities dominated the rankings last year, thanks to the rise of Chinese outbound tourism demand. Hong Kong topped the list as the most visited city in the world with 26.6 million visitors, followed by Bangkok with 21.1 million, according to the report.

The report stated that the number of Asian cities on the list has jumped to 41 cities in the 2016 rankings, from 34 cities in the 2010 rankings. The number is expected to grow to 47 in 2025. 

"The impact of inter-Asian travel, predominantly from China in particular, cannot be underestimated," the report said. 

Seoul is ranked 16 on the list, but is not expected to hang on to its position this year due to strained relations with China, the report said. 

The report noted the strong drive of Asian countries to transform into smart cities, highlighting Singapore's initiatives on mobility, health and the environment projects as part of the city-state’s Smart Nation programme, as well its cashless drive. 

On the other hand, the travel industry in Europe has been hampered by several recent events including the Eurozone crisis, Brexit, the migrant crisis and terrorist attacks in a number of countries. For example, Paris has dropped down the ranking following two high-profile attacks in 2015. 

As for the United States, the number of visitors has been "steadily decelerating in recent years", the report sad, due to a strong dollar and political uncertainty surrounding the US elections. 

Seven of the 10 Americas cities in the Top 100 are located in the US, with New York City in the lead, but it is expected that 2017 performance of these cities will fall behind cities in Canada and Latin America. 

The top 10 most visited cities are:

Hong Kong: 26.6 million visitors
Bangkok: 21.2 million visitors
London: 19.2 million visitors
Singapore: 16.6 million visitors
Macau: 15.4 million visitors
Dubai: 14.9 million visitors
Paris: 14.4 million visitors
New York: 12.7 million visitors
Shenzhen: 12.6 million visitors
Kuala Lumpur: 12.3 million visitors

Source: CNA/kc