Riyadh is ranked 19th in the list of the most visited cities in the world in 2013, according to the MasterCard global destination cities index conducted this year. The top spot is taken by Bangkok, and Dubai, another popular destination in the region, is seventh in the list.

Riyadh, which has figured in the list for the first time, is regarded as one of the most important economic and commercial cities in the world and is home to many international companies and offices.

Citing a report from Forbes Magazine, Saud Al-Moqbel, media head at the Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities (SCTA), told Arab News that Riyadh is expected to receive 5.4 million visitors in 2013.  He said that a major part of the visitors’ volume was from business and work-related visits. Riyadh also hosts many conferences and economic activities that in turn attract large numbers of visitors, he added.

Bangkok edged out London by a very slim margin. London was followed by Paris, Singapore, New York, Istanbul and Dubai. Paris is the only city in the list that has shown a decline in the estimated number of international visitor arrivals. In contrast, Dubai and Istanbul, along with Bangkok, have shown the strongest growth in arrivals.