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London retains top spot as world’s most popular tourist destination

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London has been named the world’s most popular tourist destination for the second year running, beating off rivals such as Paris, New York and Bangkok to secure top spot.

Having attracted more than 17.4m overseas travellers last year (revised down from initial estimates of 18.7m), London is forecast to draw in 18.82m international visitors in 2015, according to the Global Destinations Cities Index from Mastercard. The index – which provides an in-depth ranking of the 132 most travelled-to cities from around the world – saw Bangkok occupy second place, followed by Paris and Dubai.

“I’m delighted that London has proudly held on to this coveted title, as we celebrate another triumphant and record-breaking year for tourism in the city,” said mayor of London Boris Johnson, who recently launched a consultation to boost the capital’s cultural tourism.

"With its unrivalled mix of history, culture, culinary gems and cutting-edge creativity, I’m confident that these accolades will keep coming as the capital continues to surprise and excite visitors from all over the world.”

Europe now boasts three of the top five cities, London (1st), Paris (3rd) and Istanbul (5th). Overall, nine European destinations feature in the top 20 destination cities by international overnight visitors as follows: Barcelona (12th), Amsterdam (13th), Rome (14th), Milan (15th), Vienna (18th) and Prague (19th).

Ann Cairns, president of international markets for Mastercard said: "This year’s study helps us understand just how interconnected the world’s cities are and the significant role they play in connecting and empowering greater numbers of people than ever before.”

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London has been named the world’s most popular tourist destination for the second year running, beating off rivals such as Paris, New York and Bangkok to secure top spot.
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