EuroMonitor’s top cities report highlights the top 100 cities based on 2018 international arrivals — meaning international tourists who visited for at least 24 hours — as well as 2019 projections from current data – check out top 10 tourist destinations.
With more than 33 megacities globally — cities with more than 10 million habitants — rapid economic growth will see a further six megacities added by 2030.
Global inbound arrivals are expected to grow by 4.2% to 1.5 billion trips in 2019, with the top 100 cities
comprising nearly 47% of global arrivals and growing by 6.2% in 2019.
The top 100 cities continuously outperform the growth in world arrivals as tourism becomes a catalyst
for innovation as well as a driver of socio-economic progress. This has led to smart city developments,
encouraged by governments’ long-term tourism strategies and significantly increased investment in travel
and tourism over recent years.
This is what the top 10 tourist destinations list is expected to look like by year’s end:
- Hong Kong, 26.7 million
- Bangkok, 25.8 million
- Macau, 20.6 million
- Singapore, 19.8 million
- London, 19.6 million
- Paris, 19.1 million
- Dubai, 16.3 million
- Delhi, 15.2 million
- Istanbul, 14.7 million
- Kuala Lumpur, 14.1 million
There has been a greater focus on enhancing infrastructure and airport capacities through new terminals and improved passenger facilities. Further, smart city initiatives and integrating digital platforms to facilitate travel services have been a key trend to improve efficiency and reach in the travel sector.
Asia continues to outpace other regions, accounting for 43 of the top 100 cities. This number has steadily
increased from 34 cities in 2013. Hong Kong continues to lead the city arrivals globally despite the political
unrest and protests which lead to a sharp decline in the number of visitor arrivals in 2019.
With an increasing Chinese outbound market, many countries are targeting travellers through Chinese
social media platforms such as WeChat, as well as working closely with local travel intermediaries.
Additionally, rising income levels and increased millennial travellers from Asian economies has also
increased intra-regional travel in Asia and regions in closer proximity such as the Middle East and Africa.
Europe remains the second key region for travellers with 32 cities in the rankings, the same as last year.
However, Brexit uncertainty remained a concern for many travellers, leading to a slight decline in the
number of inbound arrivals to London in 2018. Despite this, the city maintained its 3rd place globally in
2018 but is forecast to lose two places to 5th in the top 10 tourist destinations ranking in 2019.
New York City is still the most popular urban destination in the U.S., as well as North and South America, followed by Miami (expected to be the 29th most popular city for tourists in the world in 2019); Los Angeles (33rd) and Las Vegas (38th). All will loose ground based on current projections. In fact, only 13 of the top 100 cities are in the Americas. In 2018, New York City clung to its No. 8 spot. But based on current numbers, it’s expected that it will plunge three spots by the end of the year — excluding it and the Americas from the 2019 list of the top 10 tourist destinations.
According to the report, only 13 of the top 100 cities are in the Americas. The majority (expected to be 42 in 2019), are in Asia — a number that has increased significantly from 34 back in 2013.
Middle East & Africa
The Middle East and Africa continued to pose stable growth, with leading destinations such as Dubai
experiencing flat growth. Saudi Arabia, the second most important market in the region, saw a slowdown
in religious tourism and arrivals for the purpose of visiting friends, family and relatives, following the
country’s efforts to reduce workforce dependency on expats. Egypt made a comeback on account of its
tourism reform program, with Hurghada making it into the Top 100 City Destinations ranking for the first
time at position 82. Cairo also improved to position 42.
If you want to beat all the crowds, though, you’ll want to make sure Singapore, Delhi, Hurghada, Egypt; and Fukuoka, Japan are all on your list for next year. They’re all listed as cities to watch in the report. EuroMonitor predicts Hurghada might even crack the top 50 in the next years, as it leapt 45 places this year.