World Capitals with the Most International Tourists

Try to name the world capitals that receive the most international tourists.
According to euromonitor.com, 2019 report
Also check out this version with all cities by scambigol
Quiz by Sappa
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Last updated: June 1, 2020
First submittedMarch 3, 2017
Times taken29,950
Rating4.64
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#
Capital
24.2 mil
Bangkok
19.2 mil
London
18.6 mil
Singapore
17.6 mil
Paris
13.4 mil
Kuala Lumpur
12.6 mil
Delhi
10.1 mil
Rome
#
Capital
10.0 mil
Tokyo
9.6 mil
Taipei
8.9 mil
Prague
8.4 mil
Seoul
8.4 mil
Amsterdam
6.4 mil
Vienna
6.0 mil
Berlin
#
Capital
5.8 mil
Cairo
5.7 mil
Athens
5.5 mil
Moscow
5.4 mil
Madrid
5.3 mil
Riyadh
5.2 mil
Dublin
+3
Level 63
Mar 3, 2017
Good idea!
+2
Level 82
Mar 23, 2017
Wien for Vienna?
+2
Level ∞
Mar 24, 2017
Whoops. Forgot to apply standard type-ins.
+5
Level 65
Mar 23, 2017
So, elephant in the room -- what's the deal with Manama? A quite small city on an island in the Persian Gulf. Who goes there and why?
+3
Level 65
Mar 23, 2017
Saudis mostly, it's the weekend retreat
+6
Level 63
Mar 23, 2017
Saudi Arabians over the King Fahd Causeway. Keep in mind that it beats so many other capitals because this only includes international tourists. Since its only tourists, for the most part, are international, and its proximity and accessibility to Saudi Arabia is perfect, it's not a big surprise! (10.4 million tourists visit Bahrain in total)
+1
Level 65
Mar 24, 2017
Is it a party city or are attractions there?
+2
Level 64
Mar 24, 2017
TinklePork, there's a Formula 1 race there for starters. I believe there are several marinas too.
+1
Level 55
Jun 18, 2020
PotatoBoy, the race happens in Sakhir, which is the southern desert part of bahrain, not Manama. It's easy to travel to Manama if you go there to see the race through.
+3
Level 80
Jul 9, 2017
Not surprising at all. You can watch a movie, get a drink, talk to a girl, bed beautiful Russian and Moroccan prostitutes (or ugly Chinese ones, if you prefer), listen to music, eat pork, and drive a car (if you are female) in Bahrain... all without worrying about going to jail for it. Something you can't do in neighboring Saudi Arabia.

Though I agree measuring only "international" tourists is a really silly way of factoring. As if driving one hour across the King Fahd Causeway... or taking the train from Budapest to Prague where there aren't even any international borders or passport controls... is somehow more significant than a family from Shenzhen making the trek to Beijing, or someone from Vancouver traveling to Ottawa. It reveals a very distorted picture of the number of tourists some of these cities receive looking at it this way. The entire country of Bahrain is smaller than the city of Riyadh and Saudis do not need a passport to go there.
+3
Level 48
Jul 11, 2017
kalbahamut, you are usually very thoughtful in your comments, therefore I cannot believe you wrote that "there aren't even any international borders or passport controls". There very much are international borders - where one country ends and another begins, there is a border, separating countries with different laws, currencies, languages etc. You are, however, right about the passport controls, of course, for most of the time, though those can be reinstated at sensitive times, if need arises.
+4
Level 80
Jul 13, 2017
That's a very long comment for stating something completely unnecessary. You think I don't know that they are still different countries? But if you drive from one to the other there is no gate, no checkpoint, no customs, i.e. no border: definition: a distinct separation between two things.
+2
Level 75
Mar 2, 2018
I assume that it is international tourists because they are easy to count - it's not very easy to keep track of who goes where within a country without crossing checkpoints. Though now I'm not sure how they know that the tourists were visiting the capitals - maybe it's more like the number of foreigners arriving into airports which serve capital cities. I'll read the source now and find out I'm totally wrong...
+1
Level 80
Feb 27, 2019
Roley it seems to me like it might be even more difficult to separate them out. They could just count all the overnight stays in a city, or they could go through all the registers and separate out all those that came from different countries. I'm sure they are not counting airport arrivals that would be wildly inaccurate for a variety of reasons.
+2
Level 45
Nov 20, 2019
you can drive as a women and watch movies in saudi
+1
Level 80
Jun 18, 2020
Not when I left the comment, you couldn't.
+1
Level 38
Jun 18, 2020
IDK
+1
Level 67
Mar 23, 2017
While the authors of the report have probably done a good job, the notes suggest/prove that a distinction between "tourists" and "business visitors" can not be made easily. I guess the later group is the reason for Manama and Taipei showing up on the list. Same may hold for most Asian cities on the list but I am aware that this might be just my eurocentric view. Wonder why Washington D.C. has not made it?!
+1
Level 77
Mar 23, 2017
In this type of general tourism statistics all tourists are lumped together - leisure, business, congress, pilgrims, health treatment etc. There's no country close enough to DC to contribute large number of visitors, and it's not that popular for overseas visitors. So many people just stay in NYC.
+1
Level 80
Jul 9, 2017
Manama is flooded with tourists. Unless getting drunk and throwing flowers and women dancing in their underwear counts as a business meeting. Taipei maybe. I don't know. I think many Chinese, Japanese, and Koreans go there to shop...
+2
Level 65
Jul 9, 2017
As an American, I have to imagine DC is not very interesting to foreigners. It's (kind of) interesting to Americans because of its many tributes to American history (the memorials, Smithsonian, and the government buildings, etc.), but DC is the capital for its location, not for its rich culture and historical significance. Older countries tend to have capitals that are also the cultural centers of their respective countries (Rome, Paris, Athens, Moscow, Buenos Aires, Santiago, Lima, Tokyo, Cairo), so the capital is the most important city. DC ranks behind New York, Chicago, Boston, and Philadelphia in terms of general interest and actual historical significance, I think. You could probably throw a few other cities ahead of it too, but I think those four are unarguably more interesting than anything going on in DC from a tourism standpoint.
+4
Level 80
Jul 9, 2017
I really think DC is extremely underrated as a tourist destination. It's a beautiful city and there is so much to see and do there and in surrounding areas. The Smithsonian alone places DC ahead of so many other cities, but there's a lot more than just that. I have spent considerable time in many of the cities you listed, including being a resident of DC and Moscow. I would rank DC below Paris and Rome in terms of number of interesting things to do/see. I would rank it above Athens or Cairo (and I loved visiting both cities, but, still, not even close). I would put it around the same as Tokyo or Moscow (again, loved both cities). I would also rank it above Philadelphia or Boston.. but... purely from a touristic standpoint... behind New York, Chicago, Orlando, and probably San Francisco & LA.
+2
Level 53
Jul 19, 2017
My two cents: I don't think that Tokyo is the cultural center of Japan. It's marketed that way, and it has all facets of Japanese culture present in one place, but Kyoto is really where the culture's at.
+4
Level 81
Oct 16, 2018
Kyoto is the center of Japanese traditional culture: tea ceremonies, geishas, Buddhist temples, traditional theatre, etc. But if your definition of culture includes things that have happened in the last 150 years, then it's gotta be Tokyo. And I say this as someone who has lived in Japan and generally prefers Kyoto to Tokyo as a tourist destination.
+1
Level 80
Jul 9, 2017
Because of the big undervaluation of DC as a tourist destination I mentioned above.. most international tourists don't even consider going there. Many Americans don't, either. I think they receive about 10-12 million tourists a year, but the main centers of American tourism, New York City and Orlando, each entertain more than 50 million per year. Most international tourists to the United States visit New York, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Honolulu, or other more high-profile cities. The USA is a big place and therefore far away from most other countries. If all of Europe (roughly the same size and population) was considered a single country, almost none of these European cities would make the cut. When travelers come to the USA from overseas they are flying 8 or more hours to get there. They want to visit famous places like New York or California. And then they go home and think they've seen everything the USA has to offer. Few return for Washington.
+2
Level 56
Jul 10, 2017
Europe is not roughly the same population as the United States...
+1
Level 80
Jul 13, 2017
Okay fair enough. So you prove my point even more. The tourist figures for European cities are pretty unimpressive when you consider how many people there are in adjacent countries that can travel to them so easily. I did say roughly
+1
Level 72
May 8, 2020
Chinese cross the border to Taipei regularly, and Taipei is a MASSIVE destination for Japanese tourists and richer Southeast Asians to an extent.
+3
Level 81
May 8, 2017
Strange how Rome attracts 9.6 million tourists and Vatican City is nowhere to be found on the list ????
+4
Level 61
Jul 9, 2017
As there are no passport controls into/out of the Vatican, it is a case of "no data" for Vatican as opposed to not being qualified on this list.
+2
Level 68
Jul 10, 2017
Every tourist in Vatican City is an international tourist. I mean, their own inhabitants can't go visit their capital, they are already there. An estimation should be possible. I was also surprised that Jerusalem didn't make the list btw.
+2
Level 88
Jun 16, 2017
According to your source, Riyadh should be ahead of Madrid on this list.
+2
Level 69
Jul 11, 2017
Well spotted! I was just wondering the same thing :)
+1
Level 33
Jul 9, 2017
Great idea
+1
Level 59
Jul 9, 2017
Wait a minute! Washington D.C. isn't among them???
+2
Level 23
Jul 9, 2017
Not very shocking ,at least for me.Most people who visit the states go to like New York,Los Angeles,Chicago,Miami,Las Vegas,San Francisco,Dallas,Atlanta,etc.Not really Washington ,right?:)
+1
Level 37
Jul 9, 2017
oh
+1
Level 80
Jul 9, 2017
Dallas?
+2
Level 50
Feb 11, 2020
I would put Washington as being generally preferred by tourists over Dallas and Atlanta, but yes, the main reason is that it's not that close to any other countries, and there are other cities in the US that attract more tourists.
+1
Level 60
Jul 9, 2017
Manama isn(t a capital???
+1
Level 58
Jul 10, 2017
Oh yes it is
+1
Level 53
Jul 9, 2017
Manama is the capital of Bahrain toccina
+1
Level 65
Oct 4, 2018
Missed Manama only.
+4
Level 25
Nov 18, 2019
Correct me if wrong but isnt New Dehli the captial not dehli
+1
Level 70
Jun 2, 2020
The entire city of Delhi, is a Union Territory under the Indian constitution, officially known as the National Capital Territory of Delhi. New Delhi is an urban district of Delhi.
+1
Level 80
Jun 1, 2020
I guess Al Stewart was right: The world really *does* go to Riyadh.
+1
Level 80
Jun 18, 2020
How the heck did Riyadh make it on the list in the last update? and now Manama is off but that place was pretty dead the last time I went so not that surprising. Still, Riyadh? Bizarre.
+1
Level 26
Jun 18, 2020
Taiwan is not a formal country, hence Taipei is not a capital.
+3
Level 62
Jun 18, 2020
Jetpunk uses its own list of nations, which mostly adheres to the UN member states and Vatican City, with a few notable exceptions. Taiwan is one of those, because it is effectively an independent state (the Republic of China), but the UN doesn’t recognize it because China (PRC) vetoes its membership.
+3
Level 73
Jun 18, 2020
What is your definition of formal country?
+3
Level 57
Jun 18, 2020
Taiwan is a legitimate country.
+1
Level 55
Jun 18, 2020
I'm surprised by Delhi. Do expats returning home count as tourists, or is there other explanation?
+4
Level 56
Jun 18, 2020
I simply can't believe Delhi receives more international tourists than Tokyo or Amsterdam... Maybe because I'm from India
+1
Level 82
Jun 18, 2020
Most of the Indians I know living in the US that are American citizens return every few years to visit friends. It's by far their busiest airport regarding international arrivals. I think you are severely underestimating the number of people of Indian heritage living outside the country.
+1
Level 65
Jun 18, 2020
When did Delhi stop being new?
+1
Level 80
Jun 19, 2020
Sometime around the 6th century BC.
+1
Level 44
Jun 19, 2020
I was really thinking about Mexico City, Abu Dhabi or Jerusalem ? hmm... Dublin is in here though
+2
Level 39
Jun 20, 2020
My Eurocentric brain surprised that Bangkok has more tourists than London
+1
Level 76
Jul 17, 2020
I wasn't so much surprised by it per se, as by the relatively large gap between the numbers for the two cities.