In near perfect synchronization with their upcoming honor as the host city for the 2012 Summer Olympic Games, London has been named the top visitor destination in the world according to MasterCard Worldwide’s Destination Cities Index. For the second year in a row now, exquisite landmark museums, world-class restaurants, and theater shows in the UK capital are expected to help attract the highest international visitor spend per head and drive growth of cashless commerce.
Beneficial for Global Business
London is the optimal business hub to herald the end of paper payment dominance, so much so that MasterCard predicts cash to be overtaken by electronic payments in the UK by 2025. “When we look at the way international travelers are spending, it is clear that cash is not satisfying the growing demand for safe, simple, and smart payments,” said Ann Cairns, President of International Markets for MarterCard Worldwide.
As part of MasterCard’s Priceless Cities platform, cardholders in London are already privy to exclusive access to the best in arts, sports, and entertainment the city has to offer, furthering the enjoyable experience of conducting business in Britain. By reducing the tribulation of carrying around physical notes, the speed and ease at which transactions can be conducted in and around the city could presumably be reduced as well.
Taking Top Billing
Becoming the top destination city in the world was by no means an easy feat for London, considering some of the other countries ranked in the Top 20 included Dubai, Hong Kong, and Madrid. Many popular international cities are experiencing healthy growth, including London, which is predicted to have a 1.1% increase in the number of visitors and a 10.3% increase in visitor spending.
Placing second internationally as one of the top tourist destinations was Paris, although New York was ranked second in terms of spend rankings. Rounding out the top five destination cities by international visitors in third, fourth, and fifth place were Bangkok, Singapore, and Istanbul, respectively.
Serving as more than just a backdrop for legendary musicians and lively football fans, London has once again achieved the top spot in MasterCard Worldwide’s Destination Cities Index for good reason. If London continues its positive growth pattern after the closing ceremonies of the Olympic Games this summer, it will take a city with a truly harmonious combination of business, culture, and outright excitement to keep a three-peat from happening.