The World Travel & Tourism Council [WTTC], which represents the global Travel & Tourism private sector, released its comprehensive Cities Report for 2019, which reveals Europe directly contributes $830BN (30%) to the global Travel & Tourism GDP.
Focusing on 73 major tourism city destinations, the report provides estimates of the GDP and employment directly generated by the Travel & Tourism sector, and highlights successful initiatives, strategies and policies that have been implemented.
The report reveals many cities across Europe make a significant contribution to the city’s overall GDP with, for example, Dubrovnik’s Travel & Tourism sector contributing 17.8%, and Antalya contributing 10.1%.
The three fastest-growing cities of those analysed are all located in Europe: Antalya’s direct Travel & Tourism GDP grew 15.7% and Istanbul’s close behind at 15.5%. This reflects the continued and ongoing recovery of the Turkish Travel & Tourism sector. This has been primarily driven by safety improvements and depreciation of its currency, both of which have made the destinations more attractive to visitors.
Furthermore, following the Turkish cities, Moscow was third, growing 13.7% last year, on the back of the FIFA World Cup last year. International spending showed especially strong growth in Moscow, growing 20.5%.
The Cities Report shows these 73 cities account for $691 billion in direct Travel & Tourism GDP, which represents 25% of the sector’s direct global GDP and accounts for over 17 million jobs. Notably, Paris is the second-largest city for direct Travel & Tourism contribution to city GDP, bringing in $35.6BN. Additionally, between 2008 – 2018, Rome, Budapest, and Berlin were the fastest-growing European cities in terms of employment, all growing between 4% – 5%. However, when looking at just 2018, Moscow, Istanbul, Antalya, and Budapest led the region in employment growth, with Moscow growing 18.2% last year, Istanbul and Antalya growing 14.3% and 13.7%, respectively, and Budapest growing 7%. Additionally, in 2018, direct Travel & Tourism GDP across the cities, grew by 3.6%, above the overall city economy growth of 3.0%.
International visitor spending is usually more important to cities than it is to countries as a whole. Revenues from international visitors will in some cases pay for city infrastructure projects, the provision of public workers and services that improve the quality of life for residents. For example, in London, international visitors spent $17.5BN last year: nearly twice as much as the operating costs of Transport for London, and near four times the amount than the total expenditure for policing and crime within the city.
European cities are more reliant on international tourism than cities from the other regions analysed within the report. Seven out of the top 10 cities ranked for the reliance on international visitor spend were located within Europe, with Dublin and Dubrovnik both showing over 95% of Travel & Tourism spending relying on international visitors. Additionally, Venice, Budapest, Istanbul, Prague, and London are all similarly reliant on international visitor spending, with between 84% – 93% of spending coming from international visitors to these cities.
Cities with an overreliance on domestic or international demand can be more exposed to economic and geopolitical crises. For example, large cities which are highly reliant on domestic demand could be exposed to changes in the domestic economy. On the other hand, cities which are more reliant on international demand and/or particular source markets may be vulnerable to external disruptions. The report highlights several cities which demonstrate a more balanced split between domestic and international demand, this includes two European cities: Munich (which maintains a perfect 50:50 split) and Warsaw (51% international:49% domestic)
The Global Picture
With over half (55%) of the world’s population living in urban areas – this is due to increase to 68% over the next 30 years – cities have become the hubs for global economic growth and innovation, while also attracting more people who want to live and do business there.
The report reveals these 73 cities account for $691 billion in direct Travel & Tourism GDP, which represents 25% of the sector’s direct global GDP and directly accounts for over 17 million jobs. Additionally, in 2018, direct Travel & Tourism GDP across the cities, grew by 3.6%, above the overall city economy growth of 3.0%. The top 10 largest cities for direct Travel & Tourism contribution in 2018 offer diverse geographic representation, with cities such Shanghai, Paris, and Orlando all sitting in the top five.
WTTC President & CEO, Gloria Guevara said, “European cities have been and will continue to be of critical importance to the Travel & Tourism sector. This wide-reaching report has shown the ongoing growth and contribution of European cities, and the importance the Travel & Tourism sector has on communities and offers further examples in areas such as best practices for sustainable growth, resilience and destination stewardship.”
“Achieving sustainable growth in cities requires reaching far beyond the sector itself, and into the broader urban agenda. To drive true economic impact that can translate seamlessly into social benefits, a city must engage with all stakeholders, across the public and private sector, in order to establish the cities of the future.”