The world’s most important tourism cities together generated more than $625 billion contribution to GDP last year, a new study reveals.
The World Travel & Tourism Council report covers 72 cities, with Shanghai top in terms of tourism market size at $35 billion, head of Beijing ($32.5 billion), Paris ($28 billion), Orlando ($24.8 billion), New York ($24.8 billion), Tokyo ($21.7 billion), Bangkok ($21.3 billion), Mexico City ($19.7 billion), Las Vegas ($19.5 billion) and Shenzhen ($19 billion).
The world’s top ten cities in terms of job creation are Jakarta, Beijing, Mexico City, Shanghai, Bangkok, Chongqing, Delhi, Mumbai, Ho Chi Minh City, Shenzhen.
Four of the five fastest growing cities over the past ten years are located in China – Chongqing, Chengdu, Shanghai, Guangzhou.
Chinese cities have matured rapidly over the past decade, and are forecast to continue dominating the growth charts until 2027.
Shanghai went from being the eighth largest city in terms of travel and tourism GDP in 2007 to become the largest a decade later – a position it is expected to maintain until 2027.
The rapid growth of Guangzhou will take it to fourth place and Chongqing is forecast to join the top 15 for the first time.
This comes following a period of sustained infrastructure development, including investments in airports and extensive product development, according to the WTTC.
The Chinese domestic and outbound markets will drive growth in the coming decade, with the majority of top performers maintaining their positions.
Chinese cities will continue to lead, although a slowdown in growth is expected.
With the exception of Marrakech, the cities in the top ten ranking of fastest growing travel and tourism GDP in the coming decade are in the Asia-Pacific region.
Cairo was the fastest growing city in 2017 for travel and tourism GDP contribution (34.4%), followed by Macau (14.2%).
WTTC president and CEO Gloria Guevara said: “With 54% of the world’s population living in urban areas, cities have become global economic hubs, driving growth and innovation.
“They attract huge quantities of people who travel to experience their culture, do business, and live. This growth has also resulted in a rise in city tourism – a trend which is forecasted to maintain momentum.
“Our report highlights the crucial importance of cities to travel and tourism worldwide, and likewise how vital this sector is to the economy.
“Over half a billion trips are made to cities annually representing 45% of global international travel.”
She added: “With such good performance of cities around the world, and the supreme growth experienced by cities in travel and tourism, comes huge opportunities.
“This report illustrates the strength of travel and tourism and its economic impact not only at a macro-level but at the grassroots where it is relied upon every day. A vibrant tourism sector can stimulate investment, preserve and promote cultural heritage, and catalyse new activities such as research, technology or the creative economy.
“Planning for and managing growth so that it is inclusive and sustainable – with the well-being of the communities who live and work in such cities at its core – needs to be the top priority for city governments, working in partnership with the private sector.”