What is it about the French capital that makes you hopelessly in love with it? Chic and effortless style or decadent coffee, pastries and vintage wines? Or maybe the art of “flying”? Or is it the Parisian cafe culture that has permeated the identity of the city with its iconic architecture and haute couture?
Romanticized by artists of all kinds, the city is at the center of innovations in fashion, architecture, art, gastronomy and tourism. When it comes to travel attractions, Paris has pockets.
So it’s no surprise that the French capital is the world’s most popular city destination, according to a new study by the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC). Beijing is expected to surpass it by 2032.
The study, sponsored by Visa and in collaboration with Oxford Economics, examined key data on the GDP contribution of travel and tourism, as well as employment and traveler spending. As countries close their borders in response to the pandemic, COVID-19 has had a devastating impact on travel and tourism, especially in major cities around the world. As borders reopened, many recreational travelers moved from visiting cities to less populated areas such as the coastal and rural areas, but new research from WTTC shows that city breaks are making a comeback and becoming more popular.
“Major cities like London, Paris and New York will continue to be global powerhouses, but over the next few years Beijing, Shanghai and Macau will rise to the top of the list of top city destinations,” said Julia Simpson, WTTC President and CEO. Tourists will always have favorite cities to return to, but as other countries prioritize Travel & Tourism, we will see new and emerging destinations challenging traditional favourites.”
Other cities on the WTTC list include:
Shanghai’s travel and tourism industry, which exceeded $30 billion last year, is expected to more than double to nearly $71 billion by 2032, making it the world’s second most influential metropolitan destination.
Sometimes referred to as the “theme park capital of the world,” the travel and tourism industry in Orlando was valued at $31 billion in 2022. However, estimates show that it will increase by about 50% to $45 billion in 2032. This causes it to fall to fourth place among all cities.
The only city that maintains its ranking in the top 10 list and remains the 5th most popular city destination is Las Vegas. The travel and tourism industry in Las Vegas was valued at close to $23 billion last year and is expected to exceed $36 billion by 2032.
With a 14.4% increase in GDP contribution in 2022 compared to 2019, the Polish capital Warsaw is one of the few cities outside of the top 10 to show potential growth as emerging destinations.
Top 10 Cities Based on Real Direct Travel and Tourism GDP for 2022
1. Paris – $35.65 Billion
2. Beijing – $32.62 Billion
3. Orlando – $31.1 Billion
4. Shanghai – $29.69 Billion
5. Las Vegas – $22.99 Billion
6. New York – $21.09 Billion
7. Tokyo – $17.97 Billion
8. Mexico City – $16.76 Billion
9. London – $14.92 Billion
10. Guangzhou – $13.15 Billion
Top 10 Cities Based on Real Projected Direct Travel and Tourism GDP for 2032
1. Beijing – $77.28 billion (up one place from 2022)
2. Shanghai – $70.88 billion (two places up from 2022)
3. Paris – $49.15 billion (down two places from 2022)
4. Orlando – $45 billion (one place back from 2022)
5. Las Vegas – $36.55 Billion (No change from 2022)
6. Guangzhou – $34.94 billion (four places up from 2022)
7. New York – $34.28 billion (one place back from 2022)
8. Macau – $33.33 billion (four places up from 2022)
9. Bangkok – $31.52 Billion (eight places up from 2022)
10. Tokyo – $29.94 billion (down three places from 2022)
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