World Travel & Tourism Council: Top 10 fastest growing tourism cities are all in Asia

The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) has launched the new city tourism impact data, which shows that the world’s top ten fastest growing tourism cities are all in Asia. 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 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 Guangzhou (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$29 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 neighboring cities such as Tokyo (24% 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. With this level of forecast growth, the importance of investment in long term planning, infrastructure and sustainable public policies cannot be underestimated. It is vital that city authorities understand the economic impact of Travel & Tourism, GDP and employment contribution, and not just visitor arrivals, as they seek to develop new products and opportunities to increase traveler spend and sustainable growth.

WTTC has invested in this new research and data to support them in this ambition. 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 Minh City, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, Manila, Seoul and Sydney.