This list is based on the Abbreviationfinder which is an annual list produced by Countryaah. The list ranks the most popular cities as destinations of international visitors staying overnight for at least one night. Among them, 6 cities are from Asia.
- Seoul, South Korea 10.2 million
The South Korean capital Seoul was visited by 10.2 million people in 2016. The city is home to about 9.9 million residents, and has a population density of as much as 16,000 per km².
The city is beautiful and here is everything for tourists such as festivals, museums, art galleries and shopping and everything else that belongs to the big city. Seoul has a wonderful mix of traditional Korean culture mixed with the modern. An annual festival is the Seoul Lantern Festival, the festival began as a way to combine culture and art with tourism. In 2016, the theme “Lightened Hangang River where history flows” was a kind of tribute to the Hangang River that flows through the city.
- Tokyo, Japan 11.7 million
The Japanese capital Tokyo qualifies for ninth place on the list with 11.7 million visitors in 2016. Tokyo has over 13.5 million residents and here lives over 6,000 per km².
There are many skyscrapers here, in number more than New York, Tokyo Skytree is the highest with its 634 meters and is well visited by tourists with beautiful views of the city. There is plenty to do for tourists, and public transport is well-functioning, which makes the city easy to move around. There is plenty of shopping, many restaurants, beautiful parks and events all year round. In the spring, it is very popular to visit one of all the parks when the cherry blossoms start, many then choose to get married during the splendor of the flowers. The cherry flower is also Japan’s national flower and symbolizes life, death and rebirth.
- Istanbul, Turkey 11.95 million
Turkey’s largest city Istanbul has 14.1 million residents and a population density of over 2,500 per km². The city was visited in 2016 by 11.95 million people from all corners of the globe.
Istanbul is well known for its mosques, bazaars and Turkish baths. The city is on the UNESCO World Heritage List and here are many beautiful old buildings built in different styles. The bazaars in Istanbul are well visited by both tourists and the population and here you can buy everything from clothes to various spices. The covered Grand Bazaar is one of the oldest in the world and contains 61 roofed streets with more than 4,000 stalls, the bazaar is visited daily by between 250,000 to 400,000 visitors.
- Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia 12.02 million
10.2 million people visited Kuala Lumpur in 2016, the city is the capital of Malaysia and here live about 1.7 million residents with a population density of 6,891 km².
Here is Petronas Twin Towers, which is open to visitors but tickets are limited, so if you want to visit the skyscrapers, you should be out well in advance. An important part of the city’s economy comes from tourism in particular, so much investment is made in tourism. Here is a China town with the well-known shopping street Jalan Petaling where you can buy everything from groceries to clothes and electronics, here are also sold a lot of pirated copies of movies, music and games something that makes it common with police raids. Kuala Lumpur also has 66 department stores and has become a hub in fashion and shopping in Malaysia. To increase the consumption of tourists, the Ministry of Tourism has since 2000 a program that goes out on mega sales days in March, May and December, which includes all the city shopping centers.
- Singapore 12.11 million
Singapore is in place 6 in our list with 12.11 million visitors in 2016. 5.5 million people live here and the city has a population density of around 7600 per km².
Tourism is one of Singapore’s largest industries, a lot is invested in tourism, something that annually attracts more and more people here. Here you will find art galleries, shopping, beautiful architecture and much more. The government decided in 2005 to legalize gambling and now there are two casinos here. The food is much appreciated and there are several restaurants in the Michelin guide. The World Gourmet Summit was started as early as 1997 and is an annual event that attracts many visitors, the goal is to showcase the food culture in Singapore and support local chefs as well as showcase Michelin chefs from around the world.
- New York, USA 12.75 million
New York has about 8.5 million residents and was visited in 2016 by 12.75 million people. The population density here is highest in all major cities in the United States and 10,900 people are crowded per km².
Tourists love New York as there is plenty to do here, visit skyscrapers, go to museums, stroll in one of the parks in the city or why not go to the zoo. The metro is open 24 hours a day and makes it easy to move around the city. There are five zoos to choose from in different districts, the largest is the Bronx zoo and over 4000 animals of different species live here. If you are more adventurous, a visit to Coney Island with its amusement park may suit you better!
- Dubai, UAE 15.27 million
Dubai is the emirate capital of the United Arab Emirates and has about 2.7 million residents, the city was visited by 15.72 million people from all corners of the globe in 2016.
Tourism is important for the city’s economy and attracts mainly with shopping and luxury, the city has also been called the shopping capital of the Middle East. There are a total of 70 shopping centers and the largest Dubai Mall is also the largest in the world. Although the city is located in a desert landscape, there is the opportunity to practice winter sports, how might you wonder? Well, at the Mall of the Emirates, they have built an indoor ski slope where you can ski and snowboard.
If you want to visit the world’s tallest building Burj Khalifa, you can go here!
- Paris, France 18.03 million
With 18.03 million visitors in 2016, Paris ends up in third place in our list. The city is the capital of France and about 2.2 million people live here, which is crowded with 21,000 residents per km²!
Paris is called by some the capital of romance, the city is beautiful with many old buildings such as Notre-Dam and the castle of Versailles. For art lovers, the well-known work Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci can be viewed at the Louvre. Other popular destinations of Disneyland and not to forget the Eiffel Tower!
- London, U.K. 19.88 million
The UK’s capital London with 8.6 million residents and a population density of 5,400 per km², ranks second on our list with 19.88 million visitors in 2016.
The city offers a lot for tourists in terms of culture, entertainment and shopping. The British Museum is a well-visited and often holds various exhibitions with different themes, best of all? Admission is always free! Attractive shopping is a visit to legendary Harrods a must. Other places of interest are Big Ben, the Tower of London and one of the bridges over the River Thames.
- Bangkok, Thailand 21.47 million
First place goes to Bangkok with an impressive 21.47 million visitors in 2016. The city with 8.2 million residents is the capital of Thailand and here the population density is 5000 per km².
Thailand is a Buddhist country and this is noticeable in Bangkok, here are about 400 Wat – Buddhist temples. The city has plenty of shopping and good food to suit all budgets. Bangkok also has a rich nightlife that attracts many around the world, Khao San Road offers parties and a stone’s throw away is Soi Rambuttri with a more relaxed feel. Bangkok has a bad reputation when it comes to fraud, the most common is to be tricked into buying jewelry at a premium, something that can be good to know before traveling to the city that was visited by most tourists in 2016.