On Tuesday, MasterCard revealed the results of its annual Destination Cities Index. The survey not only provides insight into the spending of international travelers but also predicts where they’ll visit next year.
According to MasterCard, Osaka is the fastest-growing destination in the world — and has been since 2009. Over the past seven years, overnight stays from international visitors have grown 24 percent.
MasterCard interprets that Osaka’s rapid tourism growth is indicative of the growing importance of Asia and the Middle East. The index’s fastest growing cities for tourism include Chengdu, Colombo, Abu Dhabi, Jakarta, Tokyo, Hanoi, Riyadh, Lima and Taipei.
Overall, Asia dominated the list of where people are traveling. Of the top 10 destinations for overnight international visitors, seven were in Asia (including Istanbul). The only exceptions were London, Paris and New York City.
Of the world’s largest cities, Bangkok had the most international visitors stay overnight last year, but MasterCard predicts that Tokyo will see the most growth this year.
“Cities that apply technology to simplify services and connect people with their passion points can become true destination cities and realize the benefits of increased visitors and greater spending,” Carlos Menendez, MasterCard’s president of enterprise partnerships, said in a statement.
Japan’s rapid rise through the tourism ranks is likely due, in no small part, to the country’s preparations for the 2020 Olympic Games. In addition to improving mass transit options throughout the country, Japan is also making its famously-complicated toilets easier for tourists to understand. Tokyo is also reportedly developing a manmade meteor shower for the occasion, too.