Battle For Visitors | Paris Beats London For The First Time In 10 Years.

A new study has revealed that the French capital received the highest number of tourists of any European city in 2018, attracting 19.1 million foreign visitors.

It knocked the UK capital, which had 19.09 million tourists, off the top spot in Europe.

Both cities were beaten by Bangkokwhich, with 22.78 million visitors, was number one overall.

The findings were published in Mastercard’s annual Global Cities Index, which ranks 200 international cities.

London’s visitor numbers dropped 3.7 per cent year-on-year, from 19.83 million in 2017. Paris, meanwhile, increased by 9.7 per cent from 17.41 million in 2017.

Despite Paris’s tourism growth, visitor spending was still higher in London.Overnight international visitor spend for the latter was $16.47bnlast year, compared to $14.06bn in the former.

London’s visitor numbers are expected to have increased by 3.47 per cent in 2019, while spend is forecast to swell by 4.64 per cent.

Dubai had the highest visitor spend in 2018, totalling $30.82bn, followed by Makkah in Saudi Arabia; Bangkok; and Singapore. London came in at number five.

Most of London’s overnight arrivals came from the US, France and Germany, with visitors spending an average of 5.8 nights in the capital and $148  per day.

Allen Simpson, Director of strategy and corporate affairs at London and Partners, said: “London and Paris are both extremely popular tourist destinations, and both cities are experiencing growth in visits from big overseas markets. The long term trend is definitely up – in the past six months London welcomed five per cent more tourists to London than the year before, with visits from China up 20 per cent and from the US up 9 per cent.”

“London and Paris have a great relationship and recently worked together on a campaign to attract American millennials to visit both cities as part of one trip. It is so easy to make the trip from London to Paris, and we know that it’s an increasingly popular two-centre holiday.

“Global, open, tolerant and welcoming for centuries, London prides itself on its diversity. We invite people from all over the world to continue to discover and enjoy our city and to make it their own.”

Top 10 cities for visitor numbers

    Bangkok, Thailand

    Paris, France

    London, UK

    Dubai, UAE

    Singapore, Singapore

    Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

    New York, USA

    Istanbul, Turkey

    Tokyo, Japan

    Antalya, Turkey

Top 10 cities for visitor spend


Makkah-Saudi Arabia




    New York-USA



    Palma de Mallorca-Spain


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