Four U.S. Cities Among the Top Global Cities Driving Travel

by Jessica Montevago
Four U.S. Cities Among the Top Global Cities Driving Travel

Orlando’s $24.8 billion tourism market continues to be driven domestically. Photo: Shutterstock.com.


Travel and tourism generated $625 billion across 72 major cities, amounting to 6.7 percent of their total GDP, according to the World Travel & Tourism Council's annual Cities Report. Travel and tourism's contribution to the GDP is significant, thanks in large part to rapid growth in middle-class income households in emerging markets.

“With 54 percent of the world’s population living in urban areas, cities have become global economic hubs, driving growth and innovation,” said WTTC President & CEO Gloria Guevara. “This growth has also resulted in a rise in city tourism – a trend which is forecasted to maintain momentum.”

Four U.S. cities ranked in the world’s top 20 cities, in terms of tourism market size: Orlando (#4), New York (#5), Las Vegas (#9), and Los Angeles (#18).

Orlando’s $24.8 billion tourism market continues to be driven domestically (86 percent). While Orlando and New York are often compared as U.S. destinations with similar levels of visitor volume and spending, the report stated, travel and tourism is one of the largest sectors for Orlando (18.7 percent of GDP), whereas it only accounts for 3.5 percent of New York’s GDP.

Some U.S. cities also found their way to the bottom 15 slowest-growing cities. Declines in Miami and Las Vegas reflect declines in domestic travel expenditure in 2017, the report said, offsetting more robust growth in the prior year. The Las Vegas decline was also exacerbated by the impact of the shooting incident in October 2017.

Chinese cities remain among the fastest-growing destinations
The Chinese domestic and outbound markets will drive growth in the coming decade, with the majority of top performers maintaining their positions, the WTTC said. Four of the five fastest-growing cities over the past ten years are located in China: Chongqing, Chengdu, Shanghai, and Guangzhou.

Over the coming decade, the top ten fastest-growing cities in travel and tourism GDP are in the Asia-Pacific region, with an overwhelming majority in China. Chinese cities are expected to continue to grow strongly and dominate the rankings, with average travel and tourism GDP growth of 7.8 percent each year from 2017 to 2027, according to the study. As the Chinese middle-class continues to expand the travel market and matures, a slight slowdown in growth is expected.

Shanghai is ranked as the largest city, by travel and tourism volume, in 2017. By 2027, Shanghai is expected to be double the size of Paris, in terms of travel and tourism’s direct contribution to GDP.

The world’s top 10 cities in terms of tourism market size are:
1. Shanghai ($35bn)
2. Beijing ($32.5bn)
3. Paris ($28bn)
4. Orlando ($24.8bn)
5. New York ($24.8bn)
6. Tokyo ($21.7bn)
7. Bangkok ($21.3bn)
8. Mexico City ($19.7bn)
9. Las Vegas ($19.5bn)
10. Shenzhen ($19bn)

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