For a long time it was the dazzling shopping scene, traditions with an experience factor and breathtaking architecture – currently the metropolis is making headlines in particular because a civic movement rebelled against the Chinese influence: for years Hong Kong has topped the ranking of the world's most visited cities – including 2018 Nowhere else have there been so many travelers, according to market research firm Euromonitor International.
With a rounded 29.3 million visitors, the city occupies the top position of today's list "Top 100 City Destinations", which was previously available to SPIEGEL. It is based on comparing the numbers of 400 cities around the world, taking into account only travelers from abroad. It did not matter whether they were traveling professionally or privately or visiting relatives or friends.
In the report, the proximity to mainland China is given as a reason for Hong Kong's high visitor numbers – the desire to travel of the Chinese is still rising. "The recent infrastructure measures have provided a steady growth in tourist flows from China," write the authors of the study. The new buildings included the completion of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge and the inclusion of the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong high-speed line.
Even for 2019, the study makers predict that Hong Kong will be the number one – even if due to the protests of the democracy movement, the number of visitors is expected to decline by 8.7 percent.
Fewer travelers in London, more in Paris
"Asia leaves other regions of the world behind," says the report. 43 of the 100 top cities were there. In 2013, there were only 34 Asian cities. Europe remains the second key region with 32 of the 100 most visited cities. Hong Kong is ranked in the capital of Thailand Bangkok (2nd place), London (3), Macau (4) and Singapore (5),
All cities in the top ten recorded increases in arrivals – except for London. There were three percent fewer people than in the previous year in the British capital. The uncertainties of Brexit are blamed for this. They would create reservations for many travelers. Although defended the city on the Thames compared to last year their third place in the ranking. But for the current year, the authors of the study predict a deterioration – Macau and Singapore would probably overtake London.
By contrast, other European cities experienced an increase in visitor numbers in 2018, for example Paris (6th place, +10.9 percent), Istanbul (10th place, +25.2 percent), Rome (16th place, +5.6 percent), Prague (# 22, +1.6 percent) and Amsterdam (25th place, +6.5 percent).
"While traditional destinations such as Milan and Vienna have fallen in the ranking, off-beat destinations such as Croatia, Slovenia and Sweden have improved," the report said. They are popular because more and more travelers are looking for new experiences and less crowded places.
Top Ten Most Visited Cities (Ranking 2019)
|rank||city||Million arrivals in 2018||Change to 2017 (percent)|
|8th||New York City||13.6||+3.8|
Source: Euromonitor International
Berlin just finished in 41st place (6 million visitors), Munich as in the past year ranked 56 (4 million visitors) and Frankfurt in 87th place (2.6 million visitors). Growth in these German cities was in the single-digit range (between 5.6 and 6.2 percent) – well below those of many other cities with double-digit increases.
Noteworthy among these boom destinations are Indian cities like Delhi (+24.5 percent), Agra (+22.5 percent) and Chennai (+26.3 percent), but also Antalya in Turkey (+31.2 percent), Osaka in Japan (+19 percent) as well Cairo (+31.1 percent) and Hurghada (+46.8 percent) in Egypt.
Healthier, greener, more sustainable?
"In the minds of many people, resorts in Egypt, Tunisia and Turkey have become safer again after the crisis years, and they are traveling more again," says Euromonitor analyst Stephen Dutton. As a result, the significantly stronger tourist flows from Europe to these countries, while German cities grew comparatively less strong.
"Cities are becoming ever more dynamic and complex," says the text in the ranking. They are no longer simply a testimony to rural exodus. It is no longer just about understanding these places as agglomerations, as a place of residence for many people. Rather, governments today sought to improve the quality of life. Healthier, greener, more sustainable: "Initiatives towards Smart City are on the rise."
"Cities are gateway to the economy," writes Rabia Yasmeen, author of the report. "Vision-driven urban planners are looking at them today as centers of investment and innovation." The questions of the local tourism authorities were mainly concerned with what offers you could attract which types of tourists.
While much remains unclear in this respect – and some cities are even overburdened – one thing seems undeniable: "Dynamic forces around urban development are changing the way travelers experience cities."