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MasterCard predicts injection of over £11billion into UK economy as London tops most visited city in 2014

London tops the list as the destination of choice for international travelers for the third time in four years, according to the annual MasterCard Global Destinations Cities Index released today. 
The Index is now in its fourth year which, using data from 132 most travelled cities from around the world, reveals that London is projected to receive 18.7 million international visitors in 2014. This is 300,000 more visitors than the 2013 top destination city, Bangkok. This translates into an injection of over £11bn for the capital in 2014.

The report also reveals that London has retained its top rank position from 2013 in relation to the amount that visitors spend which is estimated to be an average of £1,387 per resident in 2014. Bangkok, Paris and Singapore follow; with the former seeing visitor spending reach just £7.6bn despite its 18.37 million visitors. Put simply, more people are visiting London and spending more in the capital than in any other city in the world.  

Dubai rounds out the top five cities, which are benefiting from a surge in international travel fueled by an expanding middle class, innovations in luxury travel and rising need for business travel.  

The report demonstrates how, more than ever, visitors to London are driving spending in the capital. This presents a huge opportunity for London businesses to take advantage of international spending growth by providing a fast, safe and innovative payment experience to continue to make London the destination of choice for tourists.  

“The Index points to a continued strong demand and interest in air travel, both for business and personal travel,” said Ann Cairns, president of International Markets, MasterCard.  “The recognition of this year’s top international destinations reinforces the continued importance of cities as business, cultural and economic hubs.  For London in particular, being recognised once again for its place as the top destination will further boost this city’s ability to continue to be a global leader, whether through hosting events that shine a spotlight on this city and draw in further investment, or inspiring those within to drive economic growth. And, that’s where we come in.  Every day, we help consumers and businesses maximise all of the travel opportunities available to them, including a safe and secure way to pay no matter where they are across the globe.”  

Marion King, President at MasterCard UK&I, added: “As London retains its top spot for both visitor spending and international visitors, there is a huge opportunity for retailers which need to keep pace with consumer demand for new, innovative and safe ways to shop. In order for the upward trend in visitor spending to continue, the UK needs to transform the day-to-day shopping experience for consumers - providing shoppers with more choice and offering a fast, safe and convenient way to pay via any device.”  

Identifying Priceless Trends
Across the globe, a few key trends stood out from the latest Index, including: • Asia/Pacific – The region is home to half of the top ten destination cities, with Seoul achieving this status for the first time.
• Europe – This year, 67 percent of London’s international visitors are from other European cities – a strong indication of Europe’s strengthening economy and the importance of the country’s ties with Europe. 
• Latin America – Lima built on its position as 2013’s fastest growing city, taking the top spot on the Latin America line-up for the first time. 
• Middle East and Africa – Dubai is one of the fastest growing cities in the global top ten, on track to overtake Paris and Singapore within five years. 
• North America – The region has been fairly consistent since the creation of the Index, with Chicago forecast to be the fastest growing American city this year.

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