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Top 100 City Destinations 2018 by Euromonitor International

The ranking shows that six out of the top 10 most visited cities in 2018 are in Asia, with Hong Kong and Bangkok as the top two performers with Singapore, Macau, Kuala Lumpur and Shenzhen in the global top 10.

Euromonitor International unveiled new report ‘Top 100 City Destinations 2018’, which highlights the top 100 most visited cities based on 2017 international arrivals estimates for 2018.

Top 10 Cities in Europe by International Arrivals in 2017
Source: Euromonitor International

Portugal heading up
After winning Europe’s Leading Destination 2018 at the World Travel Awards, Portugal is again on the spotlight. With international arrivals reaching 2,2 million trips in 2017, Porto is featured for the first time in the top 100 ranking.

The city rose 42 places in the ranking between 2012 and 2017, becoming the 96th most visited city in the world. The city should continue this upward path as international inbound arrivals expected to register healthy growth of 7% in 2018.

Portugal’s capital, Lisbon, was also featured the 100 cities ranking at the 62nd position in 2017.

Strong growth in Turkish cities
Strong growth was registered in Turkish cities, as the country rebounded from a turbulent 2016. Istanbul remains the 3rd most visited city in Europe (and 12th globally) in 2017 with international arrivals reaching 10,7 million trips in 2017.

Antalya made the top 10 Europe’s ranking in 2017. The city will gain two positions in 2018 to become 14th most visited city globally, with international arrivals reaching 10,7 million trip this year.

Focus in Paris
After losing two positions in 2016 due to a series of terrorist attacks, Paris’ international arrivals reached 16,8 million trips in 2017, moving the city up one position to become the 6th most visited city globally. Nice, on the other hand, is expected to lose seven positions in 2018 compared to last year.

Ukraine debut
Lviv is the only Ukranian city in the top 100 city destinations ranking (82). Due to geopolitical instability, Lviv have dropped out of the ranking but the increase in international arrivals have helped the cities to recover. The city is expected to post 2,7 million international arrival trips in 2018.

While Asian cities are the clear winners, cities in the Middle East and Africa region, such as Jerba, Sousse and Sharm el Sheikh have dropped out of the ranking in the past few years, mainly due to terrorist attacks and subsequent slumping demand. In contrast, strong growth was registered by Turkish cities, as the country rebounded from a turbulent 2016.

This year’s report also highlights three cities that joined the ranking for the first time:

Batam, in Indonesia, rose 31 positions since 2012 and strengths the group of Asian cities among the most visited cities in the world. The upward trend should continue, and the city is forecasted to see a 12 percent increase in inbound arrivals in 2018.

Chile features the ranking for the first time as its capital presented a healthy 18 percent growth in inbound arrivals last year, rising 17 positions in the ranking since 2012 to become the 93rd most visited city globally.

After winning Europe’s Leading Destination 2018 at the World Travel Awards, Portugal is again on the spotlight as Porto make the top 100 ranking for the first time, rising 42 positions in the ranking since 2012.

Euromonitor International Travel Research Consultant, Wouter Geerts comments, “Over the past years, Ukraine tourism has struggled amongst a tense geopolitical situation. However, Lviv is turning things around and is coming up as an affordable and attractive city to visit. The city is especially popular amongst Polish and German travellers. In October, Ryanair announced the launch of five new routes between Lviv and Krakow, Dusseldorf, London, Warsaw and Memmingen, delivering 14 weekly flights with a total capacity of around 250,000 travellers per year. AirBaltic is also adding a flight between Riga and Lviv to its schedule, starting from April 2019. Recent up flaring unrest between Russia and Ukraine could, however, have a negative impact on the future potential of the city and Ukrainian tourism in general.”

Germany instability

  • Germany has three cities featured in the top 100 ranking:
  • Berlin has been dropping position since 2015. In 2017, the city dropped two positions and became the 36th most visited city globally.
  • Munich has started showing recovery after losing seven positions in 2016. The city rose two positions in 2017 and became the 56th most visited city globally.
  • Frankfurt has been losing position since 2015. The city will drop five positions in 2018 and is expected to become the 88th most visited city in 2018.

Euromonitor International Travel Research Consultant, Wouter Geerts comments, “All cities in Germany are showing positive growth, so dropping in the ranking highlights how other cities are growing faster rather than bad performance by cities like Berlin, Munich and Frankfurt. Berlin is a highly mature city, and there are concerns as a result of overtourism and the growth of companies like Airbnb in the city. Therefore, it is expected that arrivals only grow slowly.”

“In general, the strongest growth worldwide comes from the strong growth in outbound travellers from China. This means that especially upcoming cities in Asia are showing strong growth, while mature cities in Europe (which have not been impacted by terrorist attacks in past years) show more slow and steady growth”, he concludes.

Italy in decline
Italy has four cities featured in the top 100 ranking:

  • Rome will lose three positions in 2018, dropping from the 15th to the 18th most visited city globally, overtaken by fast-growing Guangzhou, Delhi and Antalya, even though arrivals are set to reach 9,7 million trips this year.
  • Milan dropped three positions between 2016-2017 and became the 32st most visited city in 2017. In 2018, the city will drop another two positions, even though arrivals are set to reach 6,5 million trips this year.
  • Venice also dropped from 36th to 41st position between 2016-2017. In 2018, the city will drop further 4 positions even though arrivals are set to reach 5,4 million trips.
  • Florence dropped from 43rd in 2016 to 47th in 2017 and is expected to drop to 49th in 2018 even though arrivals should reach 5 million trips this year.

Wouter Geerts comments, “Italy is a very mature destination. Thanks to very famous cities like Rome, Milan, Venice and Florence, numerous UNESCO sites, and famous food and wine, the country always tends to perform strongly. The peak season in Italy often sees overcrowding especially in cities like Venice and Rome, which represents a major downside for tourists and locals alike. This will remain a threat for the coming years, with Venice one of the most high-profile cases of cities struggling to attain sustainable tourism growth.” 

Changes in Greece
Rhodes, in Greece, was the 99th most visited city globally in 2017. However, the city will leave the top 100 cities ranking in 2018 when to become the 102nd most visited city. Athens and Heraklion remain in the ranking at the 49th and 68th position, respectively.

Wouter Geerts comments, “Rhodes is performing strongly, so it is slightly misleading to look at it as dropping out of the top 100. Growth is expected to be around 5% in 2018, but there are other cities which are performing stronger. Greece has had economic issues over the past years, which dampened arrivals, but the country has benefited from relative calm in the country, and unrest in neighbouring countries like Turkey.”

Co-Founder & Chief Editor - TravelDailyNews Media Network | Website | + Posts

Vicky is the co-founder of TravelDailyNews Media Network where she is the Editor-in Chief. She is also responsible for the daily operation and the financial policy. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Tourism Business Administration from the Technical University of Athens and a Master in Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Wales.

She has many years of both academic and industrial experience within the travel industry. She has written/edited numerous articles in various tourism magazines.