A new global index from the World Travel & Tourism Council has assessed how prepared a host of top cities are for future tourism growth.
Acknowledging the challenges that accompany tourism growth, WTTC began investigating destination management in 2017 with its Managing Overcrowding in Tourism Destinations report, alongside McKinsey & Company.
Now, major new research with JLL advances the agenda once more by addressing what makes a city ready for tourism growth.
Tourism is an essential industry that contributes 10.4 per cent to global GDP and was responsible for the creation of one in five new jobs over the last five years.
Cities and city tourism drive both country and sector growth on a significant scale.
Cities are global hubs accelerating business, innovation and job creation all around the world.
Today, over half (55 per cent) of the of the world’s population lives in urban areas and this proportion is expected to rise to 68 per cent by 2050.
Forecasts show that urbanisation and population growth could add another 2.5 billion people to urban areas by 2050.
According to research, of the 1.4 billion international visitors crossing borders in 2018 for tourism purposes, 45 per cent are travelling to visit cities.
Furthermore, international arrivals to the 300 largest city travel destinations accounted for over half a billion trips last year.
The newly created index brings together a broad spectrum of destination practices and community attributes to determine a level and type of readiness.
The levels range from emerging to established market tourism hubs with varying levels of infrastructure.
Five typologies were defined on the basis of the level of readiness:
- Dawning developers
- Emerging performers
- Balanced dynamics
- Mature performers
- Managing momentum
Those identified as emerging performers or dawning developers tended to be in emerging countries, with a lower level of urban readiness.
To improve their readiness, efforts should be focused on developing and enhancing urban infrastructure such as airport connectivity, accommodation stock and addressing environmental issues such as waste and water quality.
Examples include Bogota, Cairo, Delhi, and Istanbul.
Cities revealed as mature performers or with balanced dynamics have an established urban readiness and tourism infrastructure, but which are not yet seeing many overt signs of tourism pressure in the comparable data.
Based on findings of the research, cities in these two categories are in the most favourable and ready position to manage the current levels of growth.
Examples include New York, London, Auckland, Berlin (which were viewed as mature) and Singapore, Beijing, Osaka and Hong Kong (viewed as balanced).
Finally, European and North American cities such as Amsterdam, Barcelona, and San Francisco occupy the whole managing momentum category.
These cities have, in recent years, seen high tourism growth momentum but at the same time have either experienced tourism pressures or are at the risk of facing potential issues.
Gloria Guevara, chief executive, WTTC, said, “We are delighted to launch Destination 2030, our first comprehensive assessment of cities’ readiness for tourism growth, through the development of a unique methodology to evaluate and deliver on solutions to foster sustainable growth in tourism activity.
“Tourism authorities in many major cities around the world are working incredibly hard to prepare for the future. However, for a city to truly thrive and for tourism to develop in a sustainable manner, city planning authorities, developers, investors, legislators and community groups, need to understand how prepared the city is for future expected growth in tourism and the resulting challenges and opportunities it may face.”
To see the full report and to further understand how cities around the world are responding to these growing pressures head over to the official website.