FILTER

Topic / Industry

Region

Content Type

Topic / Industry

Region

Content Type

Top 100 City Destinations Ranking: WTM London 2017 Edition

November 7th, 2017

Euromonitor International is pleased to release its annual Top City Destinations Ranking, covering 100 of the world’s leading cities in terms of international tourist arrivals. For the first time, the Top 100 City Destinations Ranking 2017 Edition was unveiled at World Travel Market (WTM) London, the leading travel and tourism event worldwide. This year’s report includes forecast data up to 2025 and incorporates future travel trends to give further insight on how travel trends are borne out of the opportunities and challenges that cities face.

According to the report, Hong Kong was the most visited city in the world, benefiting from its strategic location and relationship with China, followed by Bangkok, which has overtaken London in 2015. Asian cities dominate the global destination rankings thanks to the inexorable rise of Chinese outbound tourism. In 2010, 34 cities from Asia Pacific were present in Euromonitor International’s ranking. This jumped to 41 cities in 2017 and is expected to grow to 47 cities in 2025. Asia Pacific is the standout region that has driven change in the travel landscape and is expected to continue doing so in the coming decade with Singapore overtaking London as the third most visited city in the world by 2025 making the podium fully Asian.

On the contrary, the performance of European cities has been hampered by several events in recent years, including the Eurozone and migrants crisis, as well as Brexit and terrorist attacks. Despite the uncertainty, some European destinations, in particular Greece, Italy and Spain have profited from unrest in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), as they offer a similar climate to countries affected by unrest such as Turkey, Egypt and Tunisia.

Performance in the MENA region has fluctuated greatly in recent years, however Euromonitor forecast data show a recovery for the region in 2017 and beyond. Most noteworthy, it is expected that Egypt will register growth in 2017, after a strong decline in 2016. While the Middle East and North Africa’s main challenges are wars and border disputes, Africa is looking to do the reverse: opening borders and enhancing collaboration with the African Union’s plans towards seamless border. African leaders are seeing travel and tourism as a way to boost the economic prosperity of the continent.

In stark contrast to Africa, the plans towards stronger border controls might weight heavily on America’s performance. Although seeing positive growth, US arrivals witnessed a slowdown in 2016 due to a strong dollar and political uncertainty surrounding the US elections. According to Euromonitor International’s Travel Forecast Model, if the US drops out the NAFTA and imposes a 35 percent tariff on Mexican imports, followed by Mexican retaliation, the impact on inter-regional travel would be considerable. New York, the most visited city in America and the only US city in the top ten most visited city ranking, has revised its 2017 forecast expecting a potential fall of 300,000 visitors, as a worst case scenario.

 

The top ten most visited cities are:

1. Hong Kong: 26.6 million visitors

2. Bangkok: 21.2 million visitors

3. London: 19.2 million visitors

4. Singapore: 16.6 million visitors

5. Macau: 15.4 million visitors

6. Dubai: 14.9 million visitors

7. Paris: 14.4 million visitors

8. New York: 12.7 million visitors

9. Shenzhen: 12.6 million visitors

10. Kuala Lumpur: 12.3 million visitors

Source: Euromonitor International

 

Euromonitor International’s report drills down into the detail of the figures to highlight why some cities are performing better than others and how emerging trends are going to re-shape the travel industry and disrupt the ranking up to 2025.

Some of the key emerging travel trends identified by the report are:

Asia – Cashless Asia

Cities as Digital Investments

To ensure continued arrivals growth and sustainable expansion, Asia cities are streaming ahead with initiatives to become smart cities. A big step towards as “smarter” society and economy is the growth of digital payment facilities. Cryptocurrencies are here to stay. The impact on the travel industry could be immense, not only in the way people travel, but also by simplifying smart contracts.

Europe – Angels and EU-nicorns

Cities as a Start-Up

While overcrowding represents a key issue in many European cities, there is a growing drive amongst start-ups in Europe to address other pain points in travel. Some of the largest start-ups in travel originate from the US. However, the US is increasingly competing with European hubs for start-up talents and investment.

UK – Rail Revolution

Cities as connectors

Over half of the international travelers coming to the UK visit London. There is a major gap between London and the second city, Edinburgh, which has less than 10% of London’s arrivals. Making the rest of the UK more accessible is an important focus of the UK’s strategy with rail a key focus to achieve a better connectivity and movement of international visitors.

Americas – Recognize that face?

Cities as hubs of innovation

As part of his policy to tighten border control, US President Donald Trump has ordered increased speed in implementing biometric scanners at airports. The travel industry is not only looking at the face to merely identify a traveler, but also to tell travel players what it wants, through speech and emotion. Voice is widely lauded as the latest frontier, which would have big implications for travel.

MEA – Looking beyond borders

Cities as entry points

Performance in the Middle East and Africa has fluctuated greatly due to unrest in many countries. However, 2017 is expected to be a good year across the board. Dubai seems insulated from all the turmoil that is going on around it. The city’s tourism industry is booking and is adopting new technologies at rapid pace. Johannesburg is the only Sub-Saharan Africa city in the ranking. However, tourism is considered a pillar of its economic growth strategy and the city is investing heavily in technology.

Definitions: International arrivals by city includes visitors from abroad who arrive at the city under review as their first point of entry, and also includes those visitors to the city who 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, i.e. 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 arrivals figures exclude same-day visitors, people in 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 city hubs and tends to exclude beach and ski resorts that may enjoy high volumes of international visitors.
City arrivals forecasting City arrivals forecast data were calculated using a regression model based on socioeconomic data collected by Euromonitor International. This model compares cities’ characteristics to those of the countries they are located in, and using historic patterns, identifies how much influence these differences have on cities' tourist arrivals. Using Euromonitor International's Travel Forecast Model, which forecasts international arrivals at the country level, the estimated effects of the differences between cities and countries were used to adjust country forecasts and produce city level forecasts.
Hence, if a particular city and the country it is located in have similar characteristics, the forecast growth of the city’s tourist arrivals will be similar to the forecast growth of total arrivals to its country from Euromonitor International's Travel Forecast Model. However, if the characteristics of the city and the country differ, the approach captures city-level idiosyncrasies and produces tailored forecasts. The set of characteristics used includes GDP, disposable income, consumer expenditure, population, terrorism attacks and sporting / cultural events.

 

For more information about the top 100 city destinations ranking and the top travel trends set to shape the industry’s future, download the full report.

blank

Wouter Geerts

In his role as Senior Travel Analyst, Wouter Geerts has direct responsibility for the lodging research within Euromonitor’s Travel team, and manages high profile projects including the Global Trends Report in collaboration with the World Travel Market. Before joining Euromonitor, Wouter completed a PhD on sustainability in the hospitality industry at Royal Holloway, University of London. Wouter further holds a Bachelor in International Hospitality Management.

SUBSCRIBE ME

REQUEST A DEMONSTRATION

Request a complimentary demonstration of our award-winning market research today.

© 2017 Euromonitor is privately owned & trademarked.