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World’s Top 10 fastest growing tourism cities are all in Asia


The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) presents its new city tourism impact data which shows that the world’s top ten fastest growing tourism cities are all in Asia. Chinese cities are at the top places, while Shanghai is currently the largest city worldwide in terms of Travel & Tourism spending and GDP, an increase from 6th largest just ten years ago.

Asia Pacific City Travel & Tourism Impact, is one of a series of reports by WTTC which looks at the contribution of Travel & Tourism to city economies and job creation. The study covers 65 cities, 21 of which are in Asia Pacific.

The research looks at 65 global cities, chosen for being among the top ranked for arrivals, and spending by visitors. Across all cities in our study, even despite being selected as key Travel & Tourism centres, there are enormously differing levels of importance. Travel & Tourism’s share of city GDP in Cancún, for example, is as much as 49.1%, whereas in Los Angeles, with its much more diversified economy, the sector represents only 1.2% of its GDP. The difference in the share of employment is also just as marked, ranging from supporting 38.5% of all employment in Cancún to just 0.8% in Osaka. With highest levels of growth concentrated in Asia, this research importantly provides forecasts for how these figures may change over the decade ahead.

The data shows that Asian cities are at the forefront of tourism growth over the next ten years. Chongqing (14% growth per year) heads the table, followed by Guanghzhou (13.1%), Shanghai (12.8%) and Beijing (12%). The other cities on the top ten list are Chengdu (11.2%), Manila (10.9%), Delhi (10.8%), Shenzhen (10.7%), Kuala Lumpur (10.1%) and Jakarta (10%).

With the world average growth rate at 4% per year, and Asia Pacific at 5.8%, these cities are significantly outpacing both the regional and global average.

Asia Pacific also includes some of the world’s largest Travel & Tourism cities. Shanghai, with an annual tourism GDP contribution of US$30 billion is the largest in the world; followed by Beijing (US$27 billion). Tokyo (US$20 billion) is ranked 6th in the world.

Shanghai and Beijing together account for 21% of China’s Travel & Tourism economic impact (GDP), whereas Tokyo alone accounts for 18% of Japan’s total.

The dominance of the Chinese market is clear, both in terms of future growth and overall size and as a main source market for destinations in the wider Asia Pacific region. The success of Chinese cities is largely driven by domestic business (as high as 94.5% of spend in Chongqing is domestic), and the Chinese outbound market is key for neighbouring cities such as Tokyo (11% of spend is Chinese, the largest market) and Bangkok (38%).

Gloria Guevara, President & CEO, WTTC said “The power of Asian cities when it comes to driving the Travel & Tourism sector is clear to see in this new data. However, not only do these cities contribute significantly to their country’s tourism sector, tourism is an important generator of economic growth and jobs within the cities themselves.”

“Successful city is one where business, infrastructure, resources, and environment meet with quality jobs and effective government support. Goal 11.4 of the UN Sustainable Development Goals calls out the need for cities to strengthen efforts to protect and safeguard the world’s cultural and natural heritage. The role of Travel & Tourism in contributing to this Goal in cities cannot be underestimated, both in creating civic pride and jobs, and, on a pure financial basis, through the export revenue generated by international visitors.

Cities are growing increasingly large and influential and are accounting for a greater proportion of global tourism demand, WTTC is proud to provide the evidence base to help public and private bodies make the correct decisions for the future growth of a sustainable Travel & Tourism sector.”

Other highlights from the report include:

  • Singapore’s Travel & Tourism has doubled in the past ten years, to a total of US$12.4 billion in 2016 and supporting 164,000 jobs.
  • Tourism in Bangkok generates US$18.2 billion for the city each year, representing 10% of the city’s economy and 50% of Thailand’s Travel & Tourism.
  • Delhi and Mumbai together generate over 1 million tourism jobs, 10% of India’s total tourism employment.
  • Macau is the most tourism intensive city in Asia Pacific, with 27% of its economy a direct result of tourism spend.
  • Eight cities in the study contribute more than 25% of their country’s Travel & Tourism economy: Auckland, Bangkok, Ho Chi Min City, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, Manila, Seoul and Sydney.

To view this report online click here

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