MasterCard Index of Global Destination Cities:  Cross-Border Travel and Expenditures 2Q 2011

Boom Towns: BA and Sao Paulo attract the broadest mix of international visitors in Latin America.

MasterCard Worldwide has released their Index of Global Destination Cities, a beautifully researched report which measures international passenger arrivals and expenditures in 132 cities worldwide, and Buenos Aires ranks well in both categories.

In terms of inbound tourism, Buenos Aires ranks #3 in Latin America with 2.2 million international arrivals. Sao Paulo ranked #1 in the region with 2.7 million passengers and Mexico City (DF) was #2 with 2.4 million arrivals. MasterCard sums up the positive regional growth story: “In cities in emerging markets in Asia and Latin America, there are simply no signs of a recession at all; they look like the boom towns that they are.”

In terms of international visitor spending, Buenos Aires ranks #2 in Latin America with BA visitors showering hotels, gallerias and restaurants with US$3.0 billion in greenbacks and MasterCard swipes. Sao Paulo inched out BA with US$3.1 billion; the other LatAm top five include Bogota ($2.1 Bn), Mexico City ($1.7 Bn) and Lima ($1.6 Bn). Buenos Aires visitor expenditures grew 19.1% in 2011.

The Top 5 cities of origin ranking makes the case that BA and SP have broader regional and global appeal compared to DF. The Top 5 cities of origin for Buenos Aires visitors were Sao Paulo (360k), Santiago (312k), Madrid (256k), Miami (160k) and Rio de Janeiro (132k). Sao Paulo boasts a similar inbound global mix, while Mexico City relies on 4 US cities to round out its Top 5. To download the complete MasterCard Worldwide Insights PDF, click here.

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