Urban tourism, one of the activities most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, will almost double its impact in the next decade, to be up to 50% above its peak, recorded in 2019, according to the conclusions of a study introduced by the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC).
Between 2022 and 2032, the greatest growth in travel and tourism will be in Asia, with increases of 15% in Hong Kong, 13.1% in Bangkok and 13.8% in Jakarta, according to the study "Economic Impact of Cities", conducted by Visa for the WTTC on the contribution of the 82 most powerful cities in the world in terms of tourism.
At the moment, "more than half of the population lives in cities. This includes ancient cities such as Athens and Rome, and large metropolises such as Tokyo," explained Julia Simpson, president and CEO of the WTTC, during the presentation of the report in Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia, where the latest edition of the organization's World Summit was held.
The report estimates that 10 of the 82 cities analyzed will surpass pre-pandemic levels this year, taking into account the spending of international travelers and the sector's contribution to its economy.
Doha, capital of Qatar, currently hosting the World Cup, will register a 21% increase, the highest in 2022, compared to 2019. This is followed by Warsaw (Poland), with an increase of 14%, and the Chinese resort city of Sanya Beach, with an increase of 10%.
Urban tourism is on track to once again become a key driver of economic growth over the next decade, with GDP expanding faster than other sectors
By 2032, the sector will directly generate up to 8% of all jobs in the 82 cities analyzed, up from 6.6% in 2019 and 5.1% in 2020
"Tourism will return to cities. We are sure of that," said Julia Simpson. In this regard, she defended that "people are looking to shop, see museums and enjoy shows".
The world's major cities are still iconic destinations. There is great interest in the history, culture and entertainment that cities offer travelers. In this regard, she highlighted the influence of movies and television series, which are "tremendously boosting urban tourism."