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In 2016, Germany, Thailand, and Hong Kong were the top destinations for international travelers while China and the United States accounted for roughly one-third of total tourism expenditures worldwide, according to the World Tourism Organization. But, as people typically visit specific cities within a country, and not the entire country, it is far more interesting to examine city-level tourism statistics.

The Global Destination Cities Index, which includes city-level data on the number of overnight international visitors and their spending, reveals that Bangkok attracted the most visitors in 2016, with nearly 21.5 million visitors recorded, followed by London with roughly 20 million visitors, and Paris at 18.3 million. Despite Germany's top rank globally, no German city reached the top 10 for international visitors in 2016.

  • Dubai led globally based on total expenditures of international visitors in 2016, with visitors spending more than $30 billion in the city. Other top-spend cities included London, New York, Paris, and Singapore.
  • In terms of growth, Casablanca, Abu Dhabi, Osaka, Tokyo, and Colombo attracted the most new visitors, a persistent trend for Osaka, which has been among the top 5 cities every year since 2012. There is no overlap between these cities and those with the highest business tourism levels, however; then, Bucharest, Jakarta, and Shanghai jump to the top of the ranking.

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