Royal Caribbean has narrowly retained its position above Tui in the world’s top ten most valuable leisure and tourism brands, new analysis reveals.

The cruise group’s brand value remained steady at $3.8 billion over last year.

Royal Caribbean is on course for future growth with demand high in the cruise industry on the back of strong financial results in 2018, according to a valuation of the world’s biggest brands in the sector by consultancy Brand Finance.

Second-ranked Tui, with a brand value up 4% to $3.7 billion in the past year, substantially closed the gap, only just falling short of overtaking Royal Caribbean.

China International Travel moved up from fifth to third place with a brand value of $3.6 billion due to a surge in forecast revenue in coming years as the Chinese tourism market continues to develop with unprecedented speed and scale.

China theme park firm Happy Valley moved up from tenth to sixth place with a brand value of $2 billion, just behind Norwegian Cruise Line ($3 billion) and Carnival Cruise Lines ($2.9 billion), with Princess Cruises in tenth position ($1.7 billion).

Brand Finance valuation director Savio D’Souza said: “Royal Caribbean International remains the world’s most valuable leisure and tourism brand but is being challenged by broader economic changes.

“The significant growth achieved by Chinese travel brands is powered by the country’s burgeoning middle class as it is increasingly able to travel internationally.”

Hilton extended its lead as the most valuable hotel brand ahead of Marriott, Holiday Inn, Hyatt, Hampton Inn, Shangri-La, Double Tree, Courtyard by Marriott, Wyndham and Ramada.