Hong Kong Tops 100 Cities for International Travel

Market Research Company Euromonitor International has releases their Top 100 City Destinations based on the international travel arrival statistics for 2014, a report they release annually.

For the past five years, Hong Kong has placed as the number one destination, and this year is no different, with 278.8 million arrivals in 2014, an eight percent growth from the year prior. That upward trajectory looks like it might keep going; The building of a third runway for Hong Kong’s international airport was approved in 2015 and is scheduled for completion in 2023, increasing connectivity and capacity.

London came in second, with 17.4 million arrivals, followed closely behind by Singapore with 17 million. London owes its climb to number two to the decline of Bangkok visitors. That, and the 2012 London Olympics boosted the iconic city even further.

Singapore, despite seeing its first decline in visitors since 2009, has the advantage of political stability, low crime, and English as a main language, not to mention it’s a major cruise destination and medical tourism target.

Rounding out the top ten cities for international travel are Bangkok, Paris, Macau, Shenzhen, New York City, Istanbul, and Kuala Lumpur, respectively.

Of the top ten, Istanbul saw the largest year-over-year increase, with 13.2 percent more international arrivals, and Bangkok, despite taking the number four spot, saw the biggest drop with a seven percent decrease, likely due to the city’s political unrest.

The study was compiled from the results of the global travel research program conducted in 57 core countries by in-country analysts, which follows Euromonitor International’s methodology and definitions for travel and tourism.

City arrivals data were sourced directly from national statistics offices, airport arrivals, hotel/accommodation stays or other methods for all 57 core countries and 93 market insight countries.

Asia Dominates City Tourism

More than a third of the top 100 cities are located in Asia. Hong Kong, Macau and Taipei benefited tremendously in 2014 from outbound Chinese travelers, according to the report, thanks in part to improved flight connections and relaxed visa restrictions.

China matched U.S. for the number of cities in the ranking—seven—making it the largest outbound market and making a name for itself in both business and leisure tourism.

Indian cities also saw growth in 2014, with Delhi and Mumbai each receiving over 4.5 million visitors, thanks to the new visa-on-arrival process and powerful promotion campaign (Incredible India).

For the first time, Vietnam saw three of its cities in the top 100: Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi and Halong, which is also credited to promotional campaigns and better flight connectivity.

Unprecedented Growth

The FIFA World Cup had a huge impact on tourism, and not just for Brazil. Miami saw a 15.7 percent increase, due largely to Latin American travelers stopping en route to Rio de Janeiro. The host city itself moved up 12 places in rank from 2013, thanks to a 46.6 percent increase of inbound arrivals.

Cancun made history in 2014, beating Mexico City with over four million visitors, a 42.1 percent increase from the previous year.

U.S. Rankings for International Travel

Curious which U.S cities piqued the interest of international travelers? Here’s how they ranked in top 100 list:

#8 New York (+3.2 percent)
#18 Miami (+15.7 percent)
#22 Las Vegas (+1.4 percent)
#29 Los Angeles (+2.3 percent)
#34 Orlando (+4.3 percent)
#52 San Francisco (+2.3 percent)
#81 Honolulu (+2.6 percent)

You can see all 100 cities by downloading the free Euromonitor report here.

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