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World’s top 10 fastest growing tourism cities are all in Asia

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Delhi and Mumbai together generate over one million tourism jobs, says a WTTC report 

The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) has recently released new city tourism impact data which shows that the world’s top 10 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 and 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 10 years. Chongqing (14 per cent growth per year) heads the table, followed by Guangzhou (13.1 per cent), Shanghai (12.8 per cent) and Beijing (12 per cent). The other cities on the top 10 list are Chengdu (11.2 per cent), Manila (10.9 per cent), Delhi (10.8 per cent), Shenzhen (10.7 per cent), Kuala Lumpur (10.1 per cent) and Jakarta (10 per cent). With the world average growth rate at four per cent four per cent per year, and Asia Pacific at 5.8 per cent, these cities are significantly outpacing both the regional and global average.

Asia Pacific also includes some of the world’s largest travel and 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 sixth in the world. Shanghai and Beijing together account for 21 per cent of China’s travel and tourism economic impact (GDP), whereas Tokyo alone accounts for 18 per cent 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 per cent of spend in Chongqing is domestic), and the Chinese outbound market is key for neighbouring cities such as Tokyo (24 per cent of spend is Chinese, the largest market) and Bangkok (38 per cent).

Gloria Guevara, president and CEO, WTTC said, “The power of Asian cities when it comes to driving the travel and 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 and tourism, GDP and employment contribution, and not just visitor arrivals, as they seek to develop new products and opportunities to increase traveller 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 and 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 per cent of the city’s economy and 50 per cent of Thailand’s travel and tourism.
  • Delhi and Mumbai together generate over one million tourism jobs, 10 per cent of India’s total tourism employment.
  • Macau is the most tourism intensive city in Asia Pacific, with 27 per cent of its economy a direct result of tourism spend.
  • Eight cities in the study contribute more than 25 per cent of their country’s travel and tourism economy: Auckland, Bangkok, Ho Chi Minh City, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, Manila, Seoul and Sydney.