GLOBAL: Hong Kong is the most visited city in the world, after attracting 26.6m global travellers in 2016, according to new rankings that are dominated by Asian cities.
The latest Top 100 City Destinations Ranking study from research firm Euromonitor International also includes Bangkok (21.2m visitors), Singapore (16.6m), Macau (15.4m), Dubai (14.9m), Shenzhen (12.6m) and Kuala Lumpur (12.3m) in its top ten.
Meanwhile, London is ranked third in the world after recording 19.2m visitors in 2016 – and visitor numbers to the UK capital are expected to rise to 19.8m in 2017.
However, as reported by the Independent’s veteran travel editor Simon Calder, Euromonitor expects London to slip to sixth place by 2025 after being overtaken by Singapore, Macau and Dubai.
International visitor numbers to London are forecast to increase an impressive 30% to 25.8m by 2025, but over the same period Hong Kong and Bangkok are expected to see growth of 71%, equating to 44m and 40m visitors respectively.
According to Euromonitor, the “unstoppable rise” of Chinese outbound tourist demand is fuelling the growth to the benefit of neighbouring Asian cities.
“Asia Pacific is the standout region driving change in travel,” said Wouter Geerts, Senior Travel Analyst at Euromonitor International. “We expect the region to continue growing in the coming decade with Singapore overtaking London as the third most visited city in the world by 2025, giving the podium fully to Asia.”
Looking at the predictions for Europe in more detail, the Independent reported that London will extend its lead over other European cities over the next seven years.
With 25.8m visitors forecast to visit London by 2025, the city will be well ahead of Paris (17.6m) and Rome (12m), with Istanbul, Prague and Barcelona rounding out the top six destinations in Europe.
Separately, New York City is the only American city in Euromonitor’s top ten visitor destinations – it saw 12.7m visitors in 2016, with 13.1m expected in 2017.
And according to CNN, Miami is the only other American city to make the top 25, having attracted 7.8m visitors in 2016, with 8m expected this year.
Sourced from Euromonitor International, Independent, CNN; additional content by WARC staff