The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) has released its annual Cities Report at the WTTC Asia Leaders Forum in Macau, SAR. The report covers 72 of the world’s most important tourism cities, which together generated over $625 billion contribution to GDP last year (24.3% of global travel and tourism GDP).
The world’s top 10 cities in terms of tourism market size are: Shanghai (US$35bn), Beijing ($32.5bn), Paris ($28bn), Orlando ($24.8bn), New York ($24.8bn), Tokyo ($21.7bn), Bangkok ($21.3bn), Mexico City ($19.7bn), Las Vegas ($19.5bn) and Shenzhen ($19bn).
The world’s top 10 cities in terms of job creation are: Jakarta, Beijing, Mexico City, Shanghai, Bangkok, Chongqing, Delhi, Mumbai, Ho Chi Minh City and Shenzhen.
In a written statement WTTC President & CEO Gloria Guevara said, “With 54 percent 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.
Highlights from the report include:
- Cairo was the fastest growing city in 2017 in terms of travel and tourism GDP contribution (34.4%), followed by Macau (14.2%).
- Four of the five fastest growing cities over the past 10 years are located in China: Chongqing, Chengdu, Shanghai, Guangzhou.
- Shanghai is ranked as the largest city by travel and tourism volume in 2017. By 2027, Shanghai is expected to be double the size of Paris in terms of travel and tourism’s direct contribution to GDP.
- Bangkok (50.4%), Paris (29.8%), Mexico City (24.0%) and Tokyo (20.2%) are the biggest contributors to their country’s travel and tourism GDP.
- In terms of domestic vs. international spend, New York sets an example as a city with a remarkable balance (52.7% vs. 47.2%). Meanwhile, Paris relies heavily on international spend and Beijing on domestic.
China Markets Driving Growth
Of particular note, Chinese cities have matured rapidly over the past decade, and are forecast to continue dominating the growth charts between 2017 and 2027. Shanghai, for example, went from being the eighth largest city in terms of travel and tourism GDP in 2007 to become the largest in 2017 – a position it is expected to maintain until 2027. Meanwhile, 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.
The Chinese domestic and outbound markets will drive growth in the coming decade, with the majority of top performers maintaining their positions, the WTTC said. 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 & Tourism GDP in the coming decade are in Asia-Pacific.