London has leap-frogged Bangkok and Singapore to be named the second most visited city in the world.
Nearly 17.4 million foreigners visited the UK capital in 2014, an increase of 3.6 per cent on the previous year, according to research by travel analysts Euromonito.
Hong Kong however, which hosted 27.7 million visitors in 2014, representing an increase of 8.2 per cent, retained top spot in the 100-strong list for the sixth consecutive year.
The Euromonito Top 10
- Hong Kong (27,770,000 visitors in 2014)
- London (16,784,000)
- Singapore (17,146,700)
- Bangkok (17,467,800)
- Paris (15,271,900)
- Macau (13,935,300)
- Shenzhen (12,148,900)
- New York City (11,850,400)
- Istanbul (10,486,300)
- Kuala Lumpur (11,182,300)
Euromonito travel analyst Wouter Geerts said: “London is one of the most iconic cities in the world. The resounding success of the London Olympics in 2012 has boosted visibility and popularity even further.
“However, with London airports nearing capacity, the capital risks losing out to European rivals. To remain competitive in the international city destinations landscape, ensuring connectivity and innovation is key.”
Rio de Janeiro was the biggest climber among the top 100 by shifting 12 places to 80th, attracting 47 per cent more travellers, and largely thanks to the FIFA World Cup – according to Euromonito.
Cancun in Mexico follows not far behind, with a rise of 42.1 per cent thanks to four million visitors, as jetsetters flocked to its famous white sands.
Kiev meanwhile dropped off the list amid a deadly conflict in Ukraine, while St Petersburg and Russia each saw a double-digit decline.