Each year market research group Euromonitor crunches the numbers from national statistics offices, airports, and hotels to determine the top 100 cities visited by international travelers, and the results for 2015 (the most recent year with complete data) were announced today. According to the report, the world’s 10 most visited are follows:
- Hong Kong (26.7 million arrivals)
- Bangkok (18.7 million arrivals)
- London (18.6 millions arrivals)
- Singapore (16.9 million arrivals)
- Paris (15 million arrivals)
- Macau (14.3 million arrivals)
- Dubai (14.3 million arrivals)
- Istanbul (12.4 million arrivals)
- New York City (12.3 million arrivals)
- Kuala Lumpur (12.2 million arrivals)
Despite a decrease in visitors from 2014, Hong Kong retains the top spot, which researchers attribute to the growth in Chinese travelers’ rising disposable incomes that allow for more trips abroad. This effect trickled over into other Bangkok, Singapore, Macau (which saw a decline in tourism after a crackdown on gambling—a big draw to the destination), and Kuala Lumpur.
Researchers noted that global tourism in 2015 was influenced by geopolitical tensions and terrorist attacks. As the Russian ruble declined, Russian travelers pulled out of their key markets, including Mexico, Turkey, and Egypt (particularly after a Russian plane disintegrated after departing Sharm el Sheik in October 2015, leading to heightened travel warnings). Despite the Charlie Hebdo terrorist attack, Paris tourism remained strong, but as the Bataclan massacre occurred at the end of the year, Euromonitor expects there to be a more significant decrease in 2016.
Health concerns also impacted travel in 2015, with MERS spreading in South Korea, and Zika dominating the tropics. But despite Zika, researchers noted that cities in the Americas generally benefitted from stability throughout the year. It remains to be seen whether or not the election of Donald Trump as president had an effect on tourism in the United States in 2016, or will have an effect on 2017. (More about that here.)
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