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Top 300 city markets will account for nearly half of all international arrivals in 2019

21 June 2019 (Edited 21 June 2019)

Cities are home to high concentrations of people with sufficient income to be able to enjoy international travel

Newly released report Global City Travel: 2019 to 2025 by Tourism Economics projects travel to and from world cities will grow 27% between 2019 and 2025.

In 2019, the top 300 cities will be home to less than 20% of the world's population but will account for nearly 50% of international arrivals.

Top 10 cities for international visitor arrivals in 2019:

  1. Bangkok 24.6M
  2. Hong Kong 22.1M
  3. Macao 19.2M
  4. Dubai 16.9M
  5. London 15.0M
  6. New York 14.0M
  7. Tokyo 12.7M
  8. Shenzen 12.2M
  9. Singapore 11.9M
  10. Kuala Lumpur 11.3M

Top 10 cities for international visitor spend in 2019:

  1. Macao $38.6B
  2. Hong Kong $27.2B
  3. New York $25.8B
  4. Bangkok $22.4B
  5. Shenzen $22.3B
  6. Singapore $17.3B
  7. Dubai $17.2M
  8. Istanbul $16.1B
  9. London $14.6B
  10. Tokyo $13.5B

Top 10 cities for projected annualized growth in international overnight visits 2019-2025:

  1. Kuala Lumpur 7.7%
  2. Macao 5.7%
  3. Istanbul 5.7%
  4. Guangzhou 4.9%
  5. Dubai 4.8%
  6. Shenzhen 4.7%
  7. Shanghai 4.6%
  8. Tokyo 4.6%
  9. Orlando 4.0%
  10. Bangkok 3.8%

Other fast-growing destinations in Europe and the Americas 2019-2025 include:

  • Los Angeles 3.6%
  • London 3.3%
  • New York 3.3%
  • Las Vegas 3.3%
  • Dublin 3.2%
  • Barcelona 2.8%
  • Paris 2.2%
  • Amsterdam 2.0%
  • Cancun 1.9%
  • Prague 1.7%
  • Rome 1.5%

Top 10 cities for international departures in 2019, ranked by overnight visits at the destination:

  1. Hong Kong 39.9M
  2. London 16.3M
  3. Singapore 11.2M
  4. Macao 6.2M
  5. Toronto 6.0M
  6. Abu Dhabi 5.8M
  7. Seoul 5.8M
  8. Berlin 5.5M
  9. Moscow 5.3M
  10. New York 5.3M

Other major source markets in Europe and the Americas in 2019 ranked by overnight visits at the destination include:

  • Los Angeles 4.0M
  • Stockholm 4.0M
  • Madrid 3.2M
  • Hamburg 3.2M
  • Vienna 3.2M
  • Montreal 3.1M
  • Amsterdam 3.1M
  • Rome 3.1M
  • Brussels 3.0M
  • Munich 3.0M

Insights from Tourism Economics:

  • Cities are drivers of global travel, both as destinations and as source markets.
  • Cities are home to high concentrations of people with sufficient income to be able to enjoy international travel.
  • 7 of the top 10 city destinations are in Asia.
  • No city in Africa, South America or Oceania is a top-25 destination in 2019.
  • Visits to the top 300 cities are expected to increase by 27% between 2019 and 2025.
  • North American cities tend to have the highest visitor spend, Europe the lowest.
  • New York, Shenzen, Singapore and Istanbul rank higher in spend than in arrivals because of longer stays.
  • Conversely, London and Dubai rank higher on visitation than on spend because of shorter stays.
  • Istanbul's high ranking on arrivals reflects in part large numbers of travelers ultimately bound for other destinations.
  • Short- and medium-haul travel from within Asia accounts for the majority of international travel to Asian destinations like Bangkok (88%), Hong Kong (89%), Macao (97%),
  • Dubai and New York see predominantly long-haul arrivals.
  • One-third of growth in international arrivals 2019-2025 will originate from China (+27M), US and UK (+25M combined).
  • USA is a key long-haul source market for European city destinations, accounting for 10.8% of total arrivals in 2019.
  • Toronto ranks high in international departures primarily because of its proximity and air links to the USA.

Note on Tourism Economics numbers:

Overnight visitor arrivals are visitors staying in any form of paid accommodation except in the USA and Dubai, where because of data (un)availability, numbers include VFR travelers staying in unpaid accommodations.



Be sure to read the Insights from Tourism Economics, especially those to which I've added emphasis. Because long-haul travel - between Asia and Europe, Asia and North America, Europe and North America - is a much different thing from shorter-haul travel within regions. Planning takes more time and research, cost and risks are significantly higher, stays are longer and largely unaffected by day-to-day changes in the weather. Also longer stays farther from home, at destinations that are often unfamiliar, can result in extensive in-destination mobile-phone searches for restaurants, local tours and attractions. You need to have all your ducks in a row in order to provide an excellent experience for long-haul visitors.

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