New research from the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) reveals French capital Paris as the "world’s most powerful city destination" but predicts it will be overtaken by Beijing by 2032.
The report, sponsored by Visa and researched in partnership with Oxford Economics, analyzed key indicators such as travel and tourism’s contribution to GDP, employment and traveller spend.
COVID-19 had a devastating impact on travel and tourism and in particular major cities around the world as countries closed their borders in response to the pandemic.
As borders reopened, many leisure travellers swapped city visits for less-populated destinations such as coastal and rural destinations, but latest research from WTTC shows that "city holidays are back and growing in popularity."
Beijing will "leapfrog" in 10 years
Paris takes the crown as the world’s most powerful city destination with a travel and tourism sector worth almost $36BN USD in 2022, in terms of direct GDP contribution to the city.
Over the next 10 years, WTTC predicts it will drop down to third place, although its value will rise to over $49BN.
Beijing is currently the second biggest city destination in the world with a travel and tourism sector worth nearly $33BN.
However, WTTC predicts it will leapfrog Paris within the next 10 years, growing to a staggering $77BN.
Often dubbed the theme park capital of the world, Orlando’s travel and tourism sector was valued at $31BN in 2022, but despite predictions suggesting it will grow by almost 50 per cent to $45BN by 2032, it will drop down to become the fourth biggest city destination.
China’s national travel and tourism sector has seen "phenomenal growth over the last decade," says the WTTC, as the country has invested in new hotels, transport infrastructure and new tourist destinations.
This investment in travel and tourism sees Shanghai’s sector, worth nearly $30BN last year, predicted to more than double to almost $71BN by 2032, to become the world’s second most powerful city destination.
Las Vegas is the only city in the top 10 list which holds its place, firmly staying as the fifth largest city destination.
Last year, Las Vegas’s travel and tourism sector was worth nearly $23BN and is predicted to grow to over $36BN by 2032.
“Major cities such as London, Paris and New York will remain global powerhouses but over the next few years, Beijing, Shanghai, and Macau will be moving up the list of top city destinations," said Julia Simpson, WTTC's President and CEO.
“Tourists will always have favourite cities that they will return to, but as other countries prioritize travel and tourism, we are going to see new and emerging destinations challenging the traditional favourites.”
Other cities outside the top 10 showing promising growth as emerging destinations include the Polish capital of Warsaw which has seen a 14.4 per cent increase in its GDP contribution in 2022 versus 2019.
Sanya, the Chinese coastal city which has become a popular tourist destination in recent years as holidaymakers visited its stunning beaches witnessed a 10.2% growth during that same period.
Its travel and tourism sector represents an incredible 43.6% of the city’s total economy. Macau’s travel and tourism sector represents 40.4% of the city’s total economy.
Orlando and Las Vegas are the only cities currently in the top 10 most powerful city destinations based on the sector’s value, which rely heavily on the sector as a share of the city's overall economy.
travel and tourism represents 20.4 per cent of Orlando’s economy and 16.3 per cent of Las Vegas’s economy.
In comparison, Paris’s travel and tourism sector represents just 3.5 per cent of the capital’s economy in 2022.
The top five cities with biggest international travellers spend in 2022 were:
1. Dubai - $29.42BN
2. Doha - $16.79BN
3. London - $16.07BN
4. Macau - $15.58BN
5. Amsterdam - $13.59BN
6. Istanbul - $13.13BN
7. Barcelona - $12.73BN
8. New York - $12.45BN
9. Singapore - $10.97BN
10. Paris - $9.76BN
In 2032, WTTC predicts the top five cities with biggest international traveller spend will change to be:
1. Hong Kong - $52.06BN (up 38 places from 2022)
2. Macau - $43.14BN (up two places from 2022)
3. Dubai - $42.98BN (down two places from 2022)
4. Singapore - $37.43BN (up five places from 2022)
5. Bangkok - $33.45BN (up seven places from 2022)
6. Doha - $31.63BN (down four places from 2022)
7. Tokyo $25.44BN (up 30 places from 2022)
8. New York $21.73BN (no change from 2022)
9. Amsterdam $21.53BN (down four places from 2022)
10. Shanghai - $21.3BN (up 11 places from 2022)
Over the next decade, travel and tourism is on track to become a key driver of economic growth once again, the WTTC says, with faster GDP growth than other sectors, generating 126 million new jobs around the world.