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Kuala Lumpur No.8 Most Visited City In The World 2017

Most Visited City In The World 2017 Kuala Lumpur
Several international media portals recently publish the MasterCard Global Cities Index for the 30 most visited cities in the world for 2017 and Kuala Lumpur came in at number 8 in the list.

This is amazing news for Malaysia as the country has been working really hard to get the tourism numbers up over the years. 

Being in the top 10 is truly an achievement for Malaysia as the 2017 Global Destination Cities Index, provides a ranking of the 132 most visited cities around the world, done by MasterCard.

This is also done every year, and cities or countries work very hard to get listed here. 

Kuala Lumpur in Top 10 Most Visited City in the World

Time.com, however, listed Kuala Lumpur as No.9 in the list with 12.1 million international visitors in 2017.

But when you see further below, CNN and other international publications list Kuala Lumpur as No.8 in their list. Anyway, being in the top 10 is better than nothing. 

List of the top 30 most visited cities in the world for 2017.

1. Bangkok, Thailand — 20.2 million international visitors.
2. London, UK — 20 million international visitors.
3. Paris, France — 16.1 million international visitors.
4. Dubai, UAE — 16 million international visitors.
5. Singapore — 13.45 million international visitors.
6. Tokyo, Japan — 12.5 million international visitors.
7. Seoul, South Korea — 12.44 million international visitors.
8. New York, USA — 12.4 million international visitors.
9. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia — 12.1 million international visitors.
10. Hong Kong — 9.25 million international visitors.

11. Istanbul, Turkey — 9.24 million international visitors.
12. Barcelona, Spain — 8.9 million international visitors.
13. Amsterdam, Netherlands — 8.7 million international visitors.
14. Milan, Italy — 8.4 million international visitors.
15. Osaka, Japan — 7.9 million international visitors.
16. Taipei, Taiwan — 7.8 million international visitors.
17. Rome, Italy — 7.3 million international visitors.
18. Shanghai, China — 6.65 million international visitors.
19. Vienna, Austria — 6.63 million international visitors.
20. Prague, Czech Republic — 6.4 million international visitors.

21. Miami, USA — 6 million international visitors.
22. Los Angeles, USA — 5.8 million international visitors.
23. Chennai, India — 5.7 million international visitors.
24. Dublin, Ireland — 5.59 million international visitors.
25. Madrid, Spain — 5.5 million international visitors.
26. Munich, Germany — 5.4 million international visitors.
27. Mumbai, India — 5.35 million international visitors.
28. Toronto, Canada — 5.3 million international visitors.
29. Berlin, Germany — 5.1 million international visitors.
30. Johannesburg, South Africa — 4.8 million international visitors.

Top 10 Most Visited Cities 2017 Kuala Lumpur
View of Kuala Lumpur city taken from the Petronas Twin Towers
CNN also issued a 10 Most Popular Cities For International Travel, listed Kuala Lumpur as number eight in the list.

Being in the top 10 is a big thing for Malaysia, as we are known to publicize this as part of our tourism statistics. The list is;

Top 10 destination cities for 2017

1. Bangkok, Thailand -- 19.41 million visitors in 2016 (20.19 million forecasts for 2017)
2. London, England -- 19.06 million visitors in 2016 (20.01 million forecasts for 2017)
3. Paris, France -- 15.45 million visitors in 2016 (16.13 million forecasts for 2017)
4. Dubai, UAE -- 14.87 million visitors in 2016 (16.01 million forecast for 2017)
5. Singapore -- 13.11 million visitors in 2016 (13.45 million forecasts for 2017)
6. New York, USA -- 12.70 million visitors in 2016 (12.36 million forecasts for 2017)
7. Seoul, South Korea -- 12.39 million visitors in 2016 (12.44 million forecasts for 2017)
8. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia -- 11.28 million visitors in 2016 (12.08 million forecasts for 2017)
9. Tokyo, Japan -- 11.15 million visitors in 2016 (12.51 million forecasts for 2017)
10. Istanbul, Turkey -- 9.16 million visitors in 2016 (9.24 million forecasts for 2017)

Forbes also published the World's Top 10 Visited Cities for 2017, and Kuala Lumpur was ranked number eight in that lost too.

I think, in general, all the big media names have re-published this news as I saw many articles related to this. 

How it impacts the tourism industry, is a good question. Will this help increase or maintain the tourism numbers is all up to the tourist.

At the end of the day, the tourism boards mission is to heavily promote the country or city to the would-be traveller. 

Each countries tourism board has their own method and objective in doing so. As for Malaysia, we have been aggressively promoting tourism for many years, and been through hard times and controversial times, like the MH370 fiasco, which saw a massive drop in visitors from China and many other countries. 

In recent years, tourism budgets in Malaysia have been drastically cut, but the main aim of luring local, regional and East Asian tourist has been high on the agenda.

The number one tourist is still coming from China till this very day and is still being pursued by many local tourism boards.

You can also find out the statistics of tourist arrivals to Malaysia from 2005 to 2016, which also shares which countries visited the most. 

Bad tourism practices went viral and spotted in Sabah (Photo by www.asiancorrespondent.com)
OverTourism in Malaysia? 

With the number of China tourist coming into Malaysia, some popular areas are facing overtourism, which is still not discussed by the local industry players.

Eventually, it can become a problem, but very little is done to avoid this. One of the areas in Malaysia affected by overtourism is at Mabul Island, in the east coast of Sabah Borneo. 

Steps need to be implemented as many other international tourist are now avoiding places that have overtourism due to many factors.

But if no one looks into this issue on a more serious note, it will eventually become a problem like some other countries. 

over tourism
An example of Overtourism
Malaysia is still considered not fully developed overall, well if you look outside of the major cities, there is so much more to do in terms of infrastructure, proper tourist guides and other related matters. Most of these places depend strongly on tourism and anything goes in most cases.

OverTourism is still an unknown word in Malaysia, simply because of tourism dollars, industry players just want to fill planes, buses and hotels.

A common practice in Asian businesses, without looking or considering the long term effects.


As I write about OverTourism in Malaysia, it is purely to highlight this potential matter that could happen or is happening in certain areas.

I truly hope the local tourism boards and industry players take note of this as we still would like to be listed in the most visited cities in the world in future.

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