Top 100 City Destinations Ranking – Published 2013

by and
January 21st, 2013

Global market research company Euromonitor International is pleased to release its Top 100 Cities Destination ranking, a list of the world’s top cities in terms of international tourist arrivals in 2011.

The rebound in global economic growth in 2011 contributed to stronger tourism demand, positively impacting results for the top 100 cities, with arrivals increasing 7%.  Emerging city destinations located in Asia Pacific performed well thanks to a strong economic environment and intra-regional demand.

Hong Kong topped the ranking with more than 20 million arrivals in 2011, a nine percent increase over 2010. Hong Kong remains largely dependent on arrivals from China, but new themed events organized by the Hong Kong Tourism Board helped draw in visitors from other Asian countries this year. Indonesia, South Korea, Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand all registered double-digit growth in the number of trips to Hong Kong.
Singapore and London kept their 2010 positions as number two and three on the list, recording nearly 20 million arrivals and 15 million arrivals, respectively. Singapore’s growth was driven primarily by large events like the Great Singapore Sales, Formula One Grand Prix and TravelRave, while London benefited from a wide mix of entertainment options and its position as Europe’s best connected city.

“While many cities maintained their previous rankings, Vietnam showed a particularly strong performance with Ho Chi Minh and Hanoi experiencing over 40% growth for the second consecutive year,” explains Caroline Bremner, Head of Travel and Tourism Research at Euromonitor International. “Although Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City will continue to be top tourist attractions in Vietnam, future demand is likely to be driven by other Vietnamese cities including Hue, Hoi An, Nha Trang and Phu Quoc emerging as international tourists look to discover more new places.”

Euromonitor International foresees an even stronger growth for arrivals in 2012. Because uncertainty in the global economy still exists, especially in the US and Europe, future growth will be driven by Asia Pacific, the Middle East, Africa and Latin America. Less visa restrictions will further encourage tourism flows over 2012-2016.

Top City Destinations Ranking 2011

Country City Rank 2011 Arrivals (000s) 2011 Growth (%)
Hong Kong, China Hong Kong 1 21830.2 8.8
Singapore Singapore 2 19818.1 8.7
United Kingdom London 3 15106.1 2.7
Malaysia Kuala Lumpur 4 13315.4 16.0
China Macau 5 12925.2 8.4
Thailand Bangkok 6 12357.4 12.5
Turkey Antalya 7 12052.4 13.3
China Shenzhen 8 10894.6 6.8
USA New York City 9 10038.0 3.5
Turkey Istanbul 10 9765.2 20.2
China Guangzhou 11 8875.5 8.9
France Paris 12 8403.5 3.5
United Arab Emirates Dubai 13 7741.0 -0.1
China Shanghai 14 6911.7 -5.8
USA Miami 15 6461.8 7.1
Saudi Arabia Mecca 16 6412.1 4.7
Thailand Pattaya 17 6002.9 10.5
Italy Rome 18 5966.2 4.5
USA Las Vegas 19 5387.1 4.2
Spain Barcelona 20 5366.4 4.0
Taiwan Taipei 21 5256.6 51.3
China Beijing 22 5152.7 5.1
USA Los Angeles 23 4918.4 8.1
Thailand Phuket 24 4893.9 9.5
Hungary Budapest 25 4376.9 8.5
Netherlands Amsterdam 26 4201.9 12.8
Russia Moscow 27 4170.0 11.5
USA Orlando 28 3825.2 4.1
Czech Republic Prague 29 3759.5 0.0
Germany Berlin 30 3711.3 7.5
Austria Vienna 31 3690.0 4.8
Turkey Mugla 32 3592.1 11.9
Vietnam Ho Chi Minh 33 3533.3 45.1
Spain Madrid 34 3431.0 0.8
Ukraine Kiev 35 3371.7 6.6
Poland Warsaw 36 3351.2 35.0
Ireland Dublin 37 3250.0 -6.7
Egypt Cairo 38 3248.9 -35.0
Turkey Edirne 39 3181.3 9.3
China Zhuhai 40 3179.9 -2.2
India Chennai 41 3174.5 14.0
China Hangzhou 42 3148.7 14.2
Argentina Buenos Aires 43 2967.7 9.2
USA San Francisco 44 2924.3 2.9
Russia St Petersburg 45 2900.0 16.0
South Korea Seoul 46 2857.1 1.7
Mexico Mexico City 47 2847.4 3.7
Japan Tokyo 48 2748.2 -28.0
Canada Toronto 49 2737.4 0.3
India Delhi 50 2702.6 15.0
Australia Sydney 51 2626.0 0.2
Indonesia Denpasar 52 2559.5 0.5
Mexico Cancún 53 2492.9 9.1
Peru Lima 54 2442.4 30.0
China Suzhou 55 2365.8 14.0
Romania Bucharest 56 2350.0 10.0
India Mumbai 57 2349.0 7.0
Belgium Brussels 58 2285.0 2.1
Dominican Republic Punta Cana 59 2232.9 11.0
South Africa Johannesburg 60 2180.3 8.4
Germany Munich 61 2134.6 4.0
France Nice 62 2134.1 2.6
New Zealand Auckland 63 2100.0 7.7
Portugal Lisbon 64 2099.8 5.4
India Agra 65 2085.4 15.0
Italy Milan 66 2074.5 4.8
India Jaipur 67 2061.7 16.0
Morocco Marrakech 68 2052.3 1.2
Egypt Sharm el Sheikh 69 2005.2 -21.6
Saudi Arabia East Province 70 1996.5 6.4
Syria Damascus 71 1988.1 -18.4
Canada Vancouver 72 1894.3 -6.6
Indonesia Jakarta 73 1893.2 0.3
Bulgaria Burgas 74 1859.7 7.7
Syria Aleppo 75 1856.5 -12.3
Italy Venice 76 1832.7 4.7
Philippines Manila 77 1821.5 23.0
Italy Florence 78 1817.2 4.5
Bulgaria Varna 79 1813.9 7.4
Kenya Nairobi 80 1812.0 40.3
USA Honolulu 81 1801.0 2.8
Greece Athens 82 1786.6 2.0
Vietnam Hanoi 83 1750.0 41.5
New Zealand Christchurch 84 1735.0 -0.5
United Arab Emirates Abu Dhabi 85 1725.0 6.3
Brazil Rio de Janeiro 86 1722.7 7.0
China Guilin 87 1698.9 14.3
Australia Melbourne 88 1677.0 14.4
Brazil São Paulo 89 1648.0 3.0
Thailand Chiang Mai 90 1632.0 6.3
USA Washington DC 91 1615.8 2.6
Saudi Arabia Riyadh 92 1610.1 6.5
Azerbaijan Baku 93 1589.9 8.6
Turkey Izmir 94 1532.9 27.1
China Nanjing 95 1497.9 14.4
Bulgaria Sofia-City & Greater Area 96 1468.0 9.7
Kyrgyzstan Issyk-Kulskaya Oblast 97 1450.5 57.6
Belarus Minsk 98 1437.7 2.8
India Kolkatta 99 1431.6 9.0
Switzerland Zurich 100 1424.0 3.3

Michelle Grant, travel and tourism research manager at Euromonitor International discusses key findings from the list

View previous rankings

Top 100 Cities Destination Ranking 2010
Top 100 Cities Destination Ranking 2009
Top 100 Cities Destination Ranking 2008
Top 150 Cities Destination Ranking 2006


Annual research programme

Euromonitor International’s Top City Destinations Ranking (2011 edition) was built from the results of the global travel research programme conducted in 57 core countries by in-country analysts, which follows Euromonitor International’s methodology and definitions for travel and tourism.

City arrivals data was sourced directly from national statistics offices, airport arrivals, hotel/accommodation stays or other methods for all 57 core countries and 153 market insight countries under review.

Main secondary sources included governmental, inter-governmental and other official sources; national and international specialist trade press and trade associations; industry study groups and other semi-official sources; and reports published by major operators, travel retailers, online databases and the financial, business and mainstream press. Trade interviews were conducted with national tourist offices, trade associations and travel operators to fill gaps in secondary research.

Country data was then cross-checked on a regional basis by the regional research teams based in London, Vilnius, Chicago and Singapore. Examples of regional sources reviewed included TourMis and European Cities Marketing for Europe. Further top-down checks were conducted by the in-house global research team. Where irregularities were found between editions, supplementary research was conducted to confirm or amend those findings. Euromonitor International is satisfied that the results of the in-country research, coupled with the top-down global perspective, ensure that the Top City Destinations Ranking is robust with a high level of data validation.

It is important to note that the Top City Destinations Ranking is not an exhaustive list and that its purpose is to highlight leading cities gleaned from the findings of Euromonitor International’s annual research programme, with the emphasis on cities, rather than popular holiday resorts.

Research Method

Data Research Method City
Airport Arrivals Agra, Amsterdam, Chennai, Delhi, Jaipur, Kolkatta, Kuala Lumpur, Moscow, Mumbai, Punta Cana, Taipei
Airport Arrivals and Hotel/Accommodation Buenos Aires, Cairo, Sharm el Sheikh
Hotel/Accommodation Athens, Berlin, Cancún, Florence, Lima, Marrakech, Mexico City, Milan, Paris, Prague, Rome, Venice, Vienna
National Statistics Office Abu Dhabi, Bangkok, Barcelona, Beijing, Brussels, Budapest, Chiang Mai, Denpasar, Dubai, Dublin, Edinburgh, East Province, Guangzhou, Guilin, Hangzhou, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh, Hong Kong, Honolulu, Jakarta, Las Vegas, Lisbon, London, Los Angeles, Macau, Madrid, Manila, Mecca, Miami, Minsk, Munich, Nanjing, New York City, Nice, Orlando, Pattaya, Phuket, Rio De Janeiro, Riyadh, San Francisco, São Paulo, Seoul, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Singapore, Suzhou, Sydney, Tokyo, Toronto, Vancouver, Washington DC, Zhuhai, Zurich
Other method Aleppo, Antalya, Auckland, Baku, Bucharest, Burgas, Christchurch, Damascus, Edirne, Issyk-Kulskaya Oblast, Istanbul, Izmir, Johannesburg, Kiev, Mugla, Nairobi, Sofia-City & Greater Area, St Petersburg, Varna, Warsaw

Source: Euromonitor International

Chinese arrival inclusions

Overnight visitors from mainland China are included in the Hong Kong arrivals data. Overnight visitors from mainland China and Hong Kong are included in the Macau arrivals data. Overnight visitors from Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan are included in the Beijing arrivals data.


Country/City Notes
All countries/cities Exclude day trippers and domestic visitors
Singapore Includes Malaysian citizens arriving by land
Saudi Arabia Official data is for provinces only
Issyk-Kulskaya Oblast Region surrounding the Issyk-Kul Lake

Source: Euromonitor International


International arrivals by city includes visitors from abroad that arrive at the city under review as their first point of entry, and also includes those visitors to the city that arrived in the country via a different point of entry, but then go on to visit the city in question during their trip.

Arrivals refers to international tourists, ie any person visiting another country for at least 24 hours, for a period not exceeding 12 months, and staying in collective or private accommodation. Each arrival is counted separately and includes people travelling more than once a year and people visiting several countries during one holiday. Domestic visitors are excluded. This encompasses all purposes of visit, such as business, leisure and visiting friends and relatives.

Euromonitor International’s arrival figures exclude same-day visitors, transit and cruise passengers as this can distort arrival figures at important border crossings and cruise destinations respectively. It also excludes those in paid employment abroad. Students that stay in a country for a period of more than 12 months are excluded and are considered as temporary residents. Military personnel and transportation crew are excluded, along with displaced people because of war or natural disasters.

The ranking focuses on capital city hubs and tends to exclude beach and ski resorts that may enjoy high volumes of international visitors.


A new edition of the rankings, released January 27, 2014 is available here:

Have a question or a thought to add? Leave us a comment below.

Caroline Bremner

Caroline Bremner manages the global research programme for the travel industry at Euromonitor International, which she joined in July 1996. Caroline has a degree in French (MA (Hons), University of Edinburgh) and Postgraduate Diploma in European Marketing and Languages (PG Dip, Napier University, Edinburgh).

Michelle Grant

Michelle Grant is the Head of Retailing at Euromonitor International. She has a degree in economics and finance from Washington University in St. Louis and extensive experience in global market research. She helps global organizations build the future of their business based on actionable insights.

  • Joe Mendonca

    I look forward to reading this report annually, however I’m surprised to see Syria – Damascus ranking at 71 , despite the conflict there, overtaking cities like Vancouver, Athen, Hanoi and Rio de Janeiro. The report also does not mention anything about he middle east uprising, which effected travel plans (including myself) and possibly stricken off most peoples ‘places to visit’ lists for now.

  • Jamie Maynard

    Hi Joe,
    Syria received 3.7 million international arrivals in 2011 (down 30% because of the conflict). It is a very popular destination for Middle Easterners and there are many expatriates that come back to visit. As a result, international arrivals to Damascus are significant despite experiencing an 18.4% decline in 2011. It is likely that arrivals in 2012 will be even lower because of the conflict.
    Due to space constraints, we didn’t touch upon the Arab Spring, but you can see the impact that it has had on Egyptian cities of Cairo and Sharm El Sheikh, which experienced declines of 35% and 22% respectively in 2011.
    Please let us know if you have more questions, and thanks for reading!

  • Patrick

    Kuala Lumpur-Malaysia, 4th is fantastic. Malaysia has little to offer (tourist attractions) but the food, hospitality and the warmth from the multi ethnics and cultures makes your day.

  • Mike

    I really believe this country has a lot to offer, from beaches to night parties.. With the its major cities Manila, Cebu, and Davao. . I think i will be back here in this beautiful country.
    It’s really more fun in the Philippines!! Love this.

  • Husein M.

    Dubai is a growing destination city …

  • Mahaliah Andam

    It’s more fun in the PHILIPPINES!

  • Arnold

    Just a question. Is Hongkong data includes business trip visitors? Shenzhen is also in the top ten, and I frequently visit both country/city because of business visit rather than tourism.

  • Jamie Maynard

    Hi Arnold,
    Yes – This ranking includes business trip visitors as well.

  • Sree

    While I am impressed with this data..and this does give me a lot of insights into my research, i couldn’t help but notice that some of the best locations in India have not made their place into the list.
    While I do see Agra up there (which got a lot of accolades after being featured in Slumdog..), the rest of the destinations I see are mostly big cities.
    Because of this reason, I think only basing the statistics on number of arrivals would make the data skewed… Mumbai, Chennai and Delhi having the biggest International Airports in India, would obviously have higher arrivals. But are these the destinations the tourists actually intend to travel to? This is the important question that I guess this data does not reveal or shed light on.
    Example: People arriving in Mumbai, may be keeping it as a pit stop en route to Goa or Madhya Pradesh. People travelling to Chennai may be keeping it as a pit stop en route to Pondicherry, or Kerala or Andaman Island.

  • mauracusack

    This data can be viewed differently by a lot of people. The high rankings from China are simply because of business and truckloads of Chinese tourists crossing into Hong Kong just to “see it” and shop. They will stay only 1- 2 days and then go back. As regards the other cities in China well this is purely business. There is a very poor tourist infrastructure here for foreigners and in my opinion there is not a lot of nice spots to visit. The western concept of tourist holiday is completely different and has cultural high lights, food, interior travel, individualized travel ideas and of course a longer time span. I have seen this after 3 years in China. The Chinese simply show up to a spot, get out of the packed tourist bus, go en masse following a person with a flag, take photos to the ‘spot’and then get back into the bus.. Personally I’d rather stay at home quite a mis-leading article. Business and tourist visits are two very different concepts..not to mention a 1-3 day package tour is a very different concept to an immersion holiday

  • kovalan

    Mumbai is one of the popular tourist destinations in India. This city is loaded with number of tourist attractions to delight the travelers. Here are some top tourist places in Mumbai city and it’s nearby.