International visitors in the City of Buenos Aires spend US$2.2 billion annually according to a new analysis of international arrivals and visitors spending in the world’s 132 most important destination cities.

The new edition of the MasterCard Global Destination Cities Index estimates Buenos Aires will welcome 2.1 million international arrivals this year who will spend a total of US$2.2 billion in 2014. Taking a regional view, Buenos Aires ranks #5 in Latin America in terms of total visitors and #3 in terms of visitor spend.

While the estimate of Buenos Aires total visitors rose 9.2% compared to 2013, the total number of visitors has fallen 12% since 2010, the last full year without government-imposed currency controls. Similarly, while the estimate of Buenos Aires visitor spend rose 6.8% over 2013, total visitor spend has fallen 26% since 2010 when visitor spend hit US$3.0 billion.

Lima, Mexico City and Sao Paulo are the three Latin American cities with the most impressive upward trajectories over the past five years in terms of both total visitors and spending. (Note: See graphs above.)

Lima’s meteoric rise in international visitors from 2.1 million in 2010 to a 2014 estimate of 5.1 million even placed the Peruvian capital in the Global Top 20 for visitors, the only Latin American destination city to reach that upper echelon of global tourism.

Over the same five-year period, Sao Paulo has seen a 25% increase in total visitors and a 35% boost in visitor spend, while Mexico City has enjoyed a 44% increase in total visitors and a 53% jump in visitor spend.

Across the River Plate, Montevideo checks-in at #9 in Latin America for both total visitors (800,000) and visitor spend (US$500 million). Montevideo’s total visitor count is the same as 2010, while total visitor spend rose 25% over the same period. (Full Story in Spanish)

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