Bangkok is the most visited city, according to new research

In the mental list of world cities, such as New York, London, Paris, it may surprise you that Bangkok looks set to overtake London as the world's most-visited international city.

According to the 2013 Global Destination Cities Index forecast, Thailand’s capital is expected to welcome 15.98 million international arrivals this year, just beating London, which is expecting 15.96 million visitors.  London took the index's top spot last year when it officially received 15.5 million international visitors, according to the Office for National Statistics.

Bangkok is a popular destination for its exotic temples and world-class hotels, but it is also the first point of entry for thousands who head to the country’s beaches.

The calculations are based on scheduled flights and the estimated spend by tourists for 132 different destinations around the world.

In terms of spending by international visitors, New York retains its top spot with an estimated $18.59 billion, followed by London, Paris, Bangkok, Singapore and Tokyo.

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New York was the highest ranked destination in North America, beating out Los Angeles and Miami. Mexico City is expected to receive the most visitors in Latin America.

The index has been compiled annually by MasterCard since 2010 and this is the first year an Asian city has been named the number one destination.