The Most Popular Destinations in the World in 2017
These 10 cities across the globe racked up the most visitors in 2017. Read on for the list—and find out why they were so darn popular.
Where people traveled in 2017
Every year, MasterCard puts together a Global Destination Cities Index in which more than 130 cities are ranked to determine the most visited cities around the world. We’ve broken down the top ten destinations and teamed up with Booking.com to provide you the top reasons to visit each city, the average price of hotels, the cheapest times to visit, and more.
The most Googled question about Hong Kong is whether or not it is in China. While officially it is, because it was leased to Britain in a 99-year deal that ended in 1997, it has its own money, passport and immigration channels, as well as its own legal system. In many ways, Hong Kong is its own entity.
It’s called the “world’s most vertical city,” because the 50,000-acre city has more buildings taller than 500 feet than any other city in the world.
Interested in going to the 10th most popular city in the world? Here are some important things to know:
· Best time to visit: May, October, July
· Lowest prices: May, June, July, September
· Average hotel price: $92
· Top reasons to visit: clothes shopping, food, sightseeing
Top Tip: Be sure not to opt for the bus from the airport to downtown, however, since it takes about an hour and a half to go just 15 miles! A personal car is worth the extra bucks!
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
The capital of Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur is known for its modern skyline with the major attraction being the 1480-tall Petronas Twin Towers, a pair of glass-and-steel-clad skyscrapers with Islamic motifs. The city is also recognized for its incredible street food that combines an array of cuisines, including Malay, Chinese, Indian, and Portuguese, which is served practically around the clock.
Interested in going to the 9th most popular city in the world? Here are some important things to know:
· Best time to visit: September, October, July
· Lowest prices: October, November
· Average hotel price: $43
· Top reasons to visit: shopping, culturally diverse food
(Speaking of Malaysia, check out this upside down house in Rumah Terbalik—Tamparuli.)
New York City
One of the main melting pots of the United States, New York is a beloved state with a beloved city known as the Big Apple. People flock from all over the world to feel the special energy that lives here. The bagels, the pizza, the fast-talking, no-fuss approach of its residents, the die-hard sports fans, the elegance of the Upper East Side, the realness of Brooklyn, the famous monuments like the Statue of Liberty, and the bright lights of Times Square make it a must for tourists.
The art alone is enough to go — including the incredible street artists.
Interested in going to the 8th most popular city in the world? Here are some important things to know:
· Best time to visit: April, March, October
· Lowest prices: January, February
· Average hotel price: $300
· Top reasons to visit: sightseeing, theater, fine art museums, shopping
Seoul, South Korea
Seoul has become a major influencer in the fashion and beauty world, which has given people a rising desire to flock to the trendy city to indulge in world-class spas and drop some cash in the Myeongdong Shopping District. The street vendors and colorful neighborhoods make it a multi-dimensional city that tourists love.
Interested in going to the 7th most popular city in the world? Here are some important things to know:
· Best time to visit: September, May, March
· Lowest prices: July, August
· Average hotel price: $62
· Top reasons to visit: food, clothes shopping, shopping, sightseeing
Can’t make it? You can still try this 10-step Korean skin-care routine for your most flawless skin.
Tokyo is the type of city that celebrates its traditional culture while also expressing passion for everything new. From the new air routes to the museum openings, its neon-lit streetscapes that look like a sci-fi film set to the still-existing sumo tournaments and quintessential cherry blossoms, there is so much to love about Tokyo.
Fun fact: Tokyo’s restaurants have more Michelin stars than any other city’s, so eat your heart out!
Interested in going to the 6th most popular city in the world? Here are some important things to know:
· Best time to visit: April, May, March (However, this infographic explains why September is a great time to go too!)
· Lowest prices: January
· Average hotel price: $110
· Top reasons to visit: food, shopping, sightseeing, friendly locals
Singapore’s airport alone is noteworthy, thanks to its incredible shops, outdoor pool and observation deck, a 24-hour movie theater, a butterfly garden, and free Wi-Fi. (Check out why Singapore Airlines was named the best in the world for over two decades.)
But once you decide to explore what Singapore actually has to offer, you’ll be enthralled by its stunning gardens and mouth-watering street food.
Interested in going to the 5th most popular city in the world? Here are some important things to know:
· Best time to visit: September, October, August
· Lowest prices: January, October, November
· Average hotel price: $165
· Top reasons to visit: food, culturally diverse food, shopping, clothes shopping
The largest and most populous city in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Dubai is constantly putting itself a step above the rest with incredible and outlandish innovations. Just this year, it announced plans for a miniature replica of Venice, flying drone taxis, and two new artificial islands. It will also open the world’s first ever hotel with a rainforest in 2018.
Tourists love the lavish, over-the-top environment the city provides, and the statistics prove it.
Interested in going to the 4th most popular city in the world? Here are some important things to know:
· Best time to visit: April, September, May
· Lowest prices: May, June, August, September
· Average hotel price: $145
· Top reasons to visit: shopping, clothes shopping, beaches, food
Dennis van de Water/Shutterstock
Paris and romance go together like strawberries and chocolate, champagne and oysters, coffee and croissants. The allure of love is enough to make people flock from all over to France’s capital. But along with an affinity for affection, Paris is the leader of the fashion world, where real heavyweights of the industry come to shine. This means chic shopping is everywhere, so be prepared to drop a pretty Euro. The incredible cuisine is another draw-in, from freshly baked baguettes to foie gras.
And how about the beautiful language? Whether you’re visiting France or not, you should bust out these French phrases because they sound so good.
Interested in going to the 3rd most popular city in the world? Here are some important things to know:
· Best time to visit: April, October, August
· Lowest prices: January, February, March, August, December
· Average hotel price: $150
· Top reasons to visit: sightseeing, fine art museums, food, museums
London, United Kingdom
This beloved city has something for everyone, so it makes sense that it comes in at number two on MasterCard’s list. For starters, its epic transportation system can get you in and out of various hubs at little cost, giving you more time and money to see new things, eat new things, and buy all the new clothes your heart desires. The rich history, various pop-ups, cultural festivals, boat cruises, street art tours, rooftop bars, and incredible flower, produce, antique, street food, clothing, vintage, and jewelry markets make it an extremely diverse city. (Check out these rare photos of Buckingham Palace to get inspired for your trip.)
Interested in going to the 2nd most popular city in the world? Here are some important things to know:
· Best time to visit: October, August, September
· Lowest prices: January
· Average hotel price: $162
· Top reasons to visit: sightseeing, theater, shopping, history