London has established itself as the hottest city in the world, according to MasterCard Worldwide, which ranked it top of its second annual Global Destination Cities Index.
For the second year running, the British capital is also expected to attract the highest international visitor spend, ahead of New York, Bangkok, Paris and Singapore.
In terms of international visitor numbers, Rio de Janeiro (up by 28.6 per cent), Tokyo (up by 21.5 per cent), Abu Dhabi (up by 17.9 per cent), Tunis (up by 17.7 per cent), Istanbul (up by 14.7 per cent) and Toronto (up by 7.6 per cent) are all projected to see the biggest increases for their respective regions.
In turn, Asia-Pacific (up by 9.5 per cent) is set to show the biggest growth in 2012 of all the global regions.
According to the Index, despite a challenging economic climate, overall international visitor numbers are projected to increase by a steady 5.7 per cent and spend by 10.6 per cent respectively for the top 20 ranked cities in the report, compared to 2011 figures.
To view the Index as an interactive map, please click here.
Marion King, president of MasterCard UK & Ireland, explained: “London is a true world beater and offers something for everyone, which is why people keep coming back.
The MasterCard Index of Global Destination Cities ranks cities in terms of the number of their total international visitor arrivals and the cross-border spending by these same visitors in the destination cities, and gives visitor and passenger growth forecasts for 2012.
On London’s number one ranking, the mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: “As our fantastic Diamond Jubilee celebrations demonstrated, London knows how to throw a party and, as we prepare to host the greatest Games the world has ever seen, it is no surprise our capital is the top choice for tourists.
“Alongside a huge array of events, festivals and activities planned for a summer like no other, London boasts the world-class museums, restaurants, theatres and shopping experience that ensure we’re unbeatable.”