The new indicator from the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), a British non-profit organization specializing in the travel industry, highlights in particular the investments made by the French capital for the 2024 Olympic Games.
It’s not really a surprise as Paris is one of the most visited cities in the world for tourists every year. But the British organization World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), which specializes in the travel industry, did not rely solely on this annual number of visitors to put the French capital at the top of the “most powerful” tourist cities in the world. The new WTTC index also takes into account the spending of these tourists locally, be it on hotel rooms or museum tickets. For the Parisian city, this tourist revenue totals over $35 billion, an unprecedented figure.
Above all, it takes into account the investments of the different levels of policy-makers, be it local or national. And less than two years after the 2024 Olympics, it’s this factor that sets Paris apart from other tourist cities. Despite a deliberately small number of new sports facilities, the capital is investing heavily in infrastructure and security in order to prepare for the world reception.
The US and China occupy the top 10
Just behind Paris, the place of the dolphin is taken by Beijing. In addition, two other Chinese cities, Shanghai (4th) and Guanzhou (10th), make the top 10, a sign of the rise of the Middle Kingdom, which is investing heavily to boost its attractiveness. According to WTTC, the top spots in its index will be occupied by Chinese cities within a decade. Several of the Asian giant’s tourist cities are seeing significant advances in ranking. Such is the case with the seaside resort of Sanya, an island in the south of the country, or Macau, a more notorious city. The former Portuguese concession has several advantages such as being able to travel there without a visa or the legal gambling that is king there.
“Major cities like London, Paris and New York will remain global powerhouses, but over the next few years Beijing, Shanghai and Macau will climb the list of top city destinations,” said Julia Simpson, President and CEO of WTTC, in a statement.
The United States is the other country to place three of its cities in the top 10 of the WTTC Index. That completes Orlando’s podium with revenues that totaled $31 billion last year, thanks of course to its famous amusement parks. Las Vegas is in the top 5 and benefits from its international aura as a night city where gambling has contributed a large part to the $23 billion generated in 2022. Sin City is followed by New York, the quintessential megalopolis whose influence does not weaken, be it artistic or gastronomic.
Recipes aren’t everything
Several examples show that the financial aspect is not enough to describe a tourist city as powerful. While three major cities, Tokyo, Mexico City and London, complete this top 10, other major cities rank relatively disappointingly given their history or recent media exposure. This applies to the pearls of the Middle East such as Dubai and Doha, the capital of the host country of the last soccer World Cup, whose only real strength is the significant tourist income.
There are also disappointments on the old continent with Amsterdam and Barcelona which, like Singapore by the way, do not appear in the WTTC list despite significant costs for local tourists.