Prague was 26th most visited city

The Czech capital jumped six places on an index of tourist destinations

Prague was the 26th most visited city in the world last year based on overnight stays, according to the Mastercard Global Destination Cities Index. Year on year, the Czech capital jumped six positions in the ranking of 162 popular tourist destinations. The Czech capital saw 6.6 million tourists accommodated last year.

Bangkok remains at the top of the list, with 20.05 million tourists spending at least one night spent during the year. Other top locations are London with 19.83 million, Paris with 17.44 million and Dubai with 15.79 million. Singapore closed out the Top Five with 13.91 million. New York City was a disappointing sixth.

“In a world of rising nationalism, international travel takes on greater importance — breaking down barriers, broadening our horizons and driving economic impact felt throughout the world’s cities,” the index states.

The makers of the survey are optimistic for the future. “With the global economy buzzing, the annual growth of international overnight visitors to the Top 10 destination cities was up in 2017 except for Seoul, which saw a dip. The forecast for 2018 indicates across-the-board growth, with Istanbul expecting the largest uptick in visitors,” they said.

The average spending of the visitor is highest in Dubai with $537 per day, Prague was much less, at $151.

In the case of Prague, the study expects to see an increase of 2.6 percent to about 6.7 million this year. This would be a significant slowdown in the previous growth rate. For 2017, the number of people visiting the Czech Republic grew by 7.2 percent.

Václav Havel Airport Prague, though, has seen a significant increase in passengers so far this year, and the city is having celebrations of the 100th anniversary of the founding of Czechoslovakia, so local tourism experts are optimistic for tourism growth.

The airport handled a total of 7,463,975 passengers in the first half of 2018, a 10 percent increase over the same period last year, and looks set to break last year's annual record of clearing 15,415,001 passengers. That was an increase of 17.9 percent compared to 2016.

New direct connections to more cities have also been announced.

The Mastercard Index of Global Destination Cities ranks cities in terms of the number of their total international overnight visitor arrivals and the cross-border spending by these same visitors in the destination cities in 2017, and gives international overnight visitor growth forecasts for 2018.

Public data is used in deriving the international overnight visitor arrivals and their cross-border spending in each of the 162 destination cities.

Forecasts are based upon the weighted average of the national level tourism forecasts and the actual 2018 monthly data at the destination level, which is available to the latest month before release.

This Index and the accompanying reports are not based on Mastercard volumes or transactional data.

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