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World's most popular destination cities in 2018

10 December 2018

Euromonitor International has released its Top 100 City Destinations 2018 report edited by Wouter Geerts.

Euromonitor compiled 2017 arrivals data for more than 600 cities, and ranked the top 100.

Arrivals include international visitors for whom the city was the point of entry for the country, and also those who entered elsewhere but included the city in their itinerary - but not domestic visitors, day-trippers, cruise passengers, military personnel or refugees; also some students and business travelers.


Where the Top 100 destination cities are located:

  1. Asia 41
  2. Europe 32
  3. Americas 16
  4. Middle East and Africa 11

Top 10 destination cities worldwide, with 2017 visitor counts:

  1. Hong Kong 27.9M
  2. Bangkok 22.5M
  3. London 19.8M (but now threatened by Brexit uncertainty, airport capacity limitations)
  4. Singapore 17.6M
  5. Macau 17.3M
  6. Paris 15.8M (but major civil unrest in late 2018 is worrisome)
  7. Dubai 15.8M
  8. NYC 13.1M (but challenged by shortage of affordable accommodation)
  9. Kuala Lumpur 12.8M
  10. Shenzen 12.1M

Biggest losers:

  • Jerba, Sousse, Sharm el Sheikh: terrorism concerns
  • Seoul: Chinese visitation down as a result of political tensions
  • Las Vegas: hurt by mass shooting in October 2017, strong dollar
  • Miami: hurricanes, traffic congestion, weakness of Latin America outbound markets

Top US cities by 2017 arrivals, with global arrivals ranks and trend:

  1. NYC (8) flat
  2. Miami (22) down
  3. Los Angeles (27) down
  4. Las Vegas (28) down
  5. Orlando (44) flat
  6. San Francisco (73) down
  7. Honolulu (77) down

Cities to watch in 2019 and beyond:

  • Mumbai, with new airport operational in 2019
  • Porto, after Portugal winning Europe's Leading Destination 2018 award
  • Osaka, growing in popularity with Chinese travelers, plus 2020 Tokyo Olympics
  • Jerusalem, benefiting from relative stability in the region, and intense marketing
  • Delhi, close to popular Indian destinations and religious sites
  • Istanbul, with new airport opened October 2018,Turkish marketing push in Asia



  • Anyone who can deliver low-cost accommodation profitably in NYC should be golden in 2019.
  • Visitation to all US cities in the Top 100 was flat or down in 2017. Brand USA, do you need a larger budget?
  • Fate of tourism in Paris is in the hands of Emmanuel Macron, labeled "President of the Rich" by demonstrators who have succeeded in disrupting the most popular Paris attractions in the runup to the holiday season, which is also the beginning of the summer 2019 vacation-booking season. Competing destinations will be doing their utmost to grab share. Stay tuned.
  • UK "Leave" contingent have obviously shot themselves and all their countrypersons in the foot, tourismwise and in general. Ultimate outcome remains uncertain. Stay tuned.

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David Boggs    - David
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