International tourism is characterized by offering luxury services, such as five-star hotels and Michelin-starred restaurants, among other premium experiences. According to a study by the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), Dubai was where international tourists spent the most money in 2022, with an approximate annual total of US$29 billion. Singapore and Macau represented East Asia, and New York was the only city from the Americas to make the top 10.
Dubai tops the rankings due to its extravagant attractions, such as the world's tallest building, the Burj Khalifa, desert excursions, and yacht cruises. This makes it a destination for international visitors. In addition, the city's reputation for duty-free luxury shopping and its guarantee of luxurious experiences have made it a premier travel destination for luxury shoppers worldwide. In 2022, international travelers spent approximately $29.420 billion in the city.
Doha follows, with US$16.7 billion, and London, with $16 billion, offers ultra-wealthy travelers access to a diverse range of high-end designer retailers and world-famous museums, galleries, and attractions. In Macau, known as the "Las Vegas of Asia," spending was $15 billion. This number is expected to multiply even further over the next decade, driven by visitors from China and Hong Kong, who make up the majority of visitors.
In fifth place was Amsterdam, where spending in the tourism sector reached US$13,5 billion. Two other European cities followed: Istanbul (US$13,1 billion) and Barcelona (US$12,7 billion) in positions six and seven of the ranking. In eighth place is New York, the only Americas city in the ranking, with an expenditure of US$12,5 billion. Finally, Singapore closes the list, with almost US$11 billion, and Paris with US$9,8 billion.
Major tourist destinations like London, Paris, and New York will remain global powerhouses. Still, in the coming years, Beijing, Shanghai, and Macau will increase the list of top city destinations.
Tourists will always have favorite cities to return to. However, as other countries prioritize travel and tourism, we will see new and emerging destinations that challenge traditional favorites.
Other cities outside the top 10, promising growth as emerging destinations, include the Polish capital of Warsaw, which is projected to record a 14.4% increase in its contribution to GDP in 2022 compared to 2019.