Euromonitor International released its list of 100 most visited cities of 2018. Asia clearly dominates the ranking with 43 of the 100 metropolises located on the continent.
Asia is and remains an absolute boom region in terms of international tourism, as confirmed by the "Top 100 City Destinations" study by the market research company. According to the report, six cities in the top ten of the most visited metropolises worldwide are Asian – Hong Kong, Bangkok, Macau, Singapore, Dubai, and Kuala Lumpur. The main criterion of the list was the number of foreign visitors who visited the respective metropolis for at least 24 hours.
As in previous years, Hong Kong remains at the top position among the 100 most popular cities.
According to the report, more than 50 percent of the visitors in Hong Kong are mainland Chinese. The increase in tourist numbers of five percent for 2018 can be explained, among other things, by the city's improved infrastructure. For example, the Honghong-Zhuhai-Macau bridge was completed, as was the high-speed train link between Hong Kong, Shenzhen, and Guangzhou. In view of the current situation in the city, triggered by violent protests against China's increasing influence, the top city is likely to change. It’s predicted that Hong Kong will see an 8.9 percent drop in visitor numbers in 2019.
Asian cities dominate the ranking
Asia does not only dominate the top ten - 43 of the hundred most popular cities in 2018 are on the continent. For comparison: Europe has 32 cities, North and South America together only 13, and the Middle East (which is not counted as Asia in this ranking) and Africa together 12. Particularly remarkable is the growth of a few cities, for example, Istanbul (Turkey) increased by more than 25 percent, Hurghada (Egypt) even 41 percent. This is probably also due to the weak course of the Turkish lira, which may have made the whole country an even more popular holiday region.
The best-placed European metropolis is London at number 3, followed by Paris at number 6 - while London lost visitors in the low single-digit percentage range, tourism in Paris is growing again – by almost eleven percent in 2018. Shaken by Islamist attacks in the recent past, it has fortunately become safer again in recent years. For 2019, London is expected to lose 3rd place and be overtaken by both Macau and Singapore - the uncertainties surrounding the Brexit would have brought the city the collapse according to the data.
In general, it is noticeable that "classic" destinations in Europe such as Berlin, Milan, and Vienna have lost ground in the ranking, while locations in Poland, Hungary, and Sweden have been able to improve. This can be explained by the fact that tourists today are longing for less crowded places and new experiences. But cheap airlines, which fly to these comparatively less known places, are also responsible for this.
The Top Ten Most Popular Destinations Worldwide
1. Hong Kong, +5 %
2. Bangkok (Thailand), +7.7 %
3. London (United Kingdom), -3 %
4. Macao, +9.2 %
5. Singapore, + 5.3 %
6. Paris (France), +10.9 %
7. Dubai (United Arab Emirates), +0.8 %
8. New York (USA), +3.8 %
9. Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), +4.6 %
10. Istanbul (Turkey), +25.2 %