Sofia – the third European city with the largest increase in the number of tourists

According to MasterCard Global Destination Cities Index, Sofia is the third city in Europe with the largest increase in the number of tourists for the period 2009-2016. With an annual average growth of 9.4% the Bulgarian capital ranked after Bucharest (10.4%) and Lisbon (10.2) and before Budapest (8.6%), Hamburg (8.4%), Moscow (8.2%), Copenhagen (8.1%), Berlin (8%) and Amsterdam (7.1%). The Index provides a ranking of the 132 most visited cities around the world. Based on the overall visitor volume and expenditure in 2016 the in-depth analysis also forecast the growth for 2017, gave key data on the fastest-growing destinations and a deeper understanding of why people travelled, how much and how they spent money in different countries. The MasterCard Index once again listed Bangkok as the most visited city in the world. Sofia ranked 77th in terms of number of visitor arrivals – it preceded traditional tourist destinations such as Geneva, Saint Petersburg, Casablanca and Cairo. The total number of visitors that arrived in the Bulgarian capital in 2016 is 1 186 413. The number of foreign visitors in Sofia for 2016 increased by 18% compared to 2015 and it is expected that in 2017 the total number will increase by another 2%. The index also revealed an annual growth of 3.7% in terms of visitor expenditure for the period 2009-2016 – in 2016 visitor expenditure amounted to $500 million (in 2009 - $ 387 million). In the last two years, international visitor expenditure in Sofia increased by almost 20%.