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Ranked: Top 10 Cities Where International Travelers Spend the Most

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Top Cities for International Travelers Spending

Top 10 Cities Where International Travelers Spend the Most

When it comes to travel, some tourists spare no expense. And some cities are well suited to attract them.

From the luxurious desert city of Dubai to the city of light and love, Paris, many international travelers today are looking to tick the crème de la crème of destinations off their bucket lists. In some cases, they’re seeking out the opulent experiences they missed out on when the pandemic brought the world to a halt.

In this graphic, we use the latest research by the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) to highlight the top 10 cities where international travelers spent the most in 2022.

Cities of Opulence

Last year, Dubai took top spot, followed by nearby Doha, Qatar.

RankCityCountry / RegionIncome from International Tourists (2022)
#1Dubai🇦🇪 UAE$29.42B
#2Doha🇶🇦 Qatar$16.79B
#3London🇬🇧 UK$16.07B
#4Macau🇲🇴 Macau SAR$15.58B
#5Amsterdam🇳🇱 Netherlands$13.59B
#6Istanbul🇹🇷 Türkiye$13.13B
#7Barcelona🇪🇸 Spain$12.73B
#8New York🇺🇸 U.S.$12.45B
#9Singapore🇸🇬 Singapore$10.97B
#10Paris🇫🇷 France$9.76B

Singapore and Macau represented East Asia, and New York was the sole city from the Americas on the list.

It’s worth noting that this list differs somewhat from overall tourism spending, which would include domestic travel spending as well. Large countries like the United States and China fare better in that ranking.

City Spotlight: Destinations Favored by Big Spenders

When you think of luxury travel, you think of five-star hotels, Michelin-star restaurants, luxury retail outlets, and many other premium experiences. And these cities offered their international travelers just that.

#1. Dubai

From the Burj Khalifa, currently the world’s tallest building, to the desert excursions and yacht cruises, Dubai offers extravagant experiences for international visitors. The city’s reputation for tax-free, high-end shopping and its commitment to providing a luxurious experience has made it a top travel destination for luxury shoppers from around the world.

Location is another factor in the city’s success. Dubai sits at the natural crossroads between Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East, and is home to one of the world’s busiest, well-connected airports.

International travelers spent close to $30 billion in the city in 2022.

#3. London

London has long been a preferred location for the ultra-wealthy, and as a result, the city has an abundance of amenities for well-heeled travelers. For one, London is home to more five star hotels than any other city. As well, London offers ultra-wealthy travelers access to a wide range of high-end designer retailers, as well as world-famous museums, galleries, and landmarks.

Of course, the UK’s largest city also sees a high overall volume of tourists overall, which adds to the $16 billion global visitors spent in the city in 2022.

#4. Macau

Known as the Las Vegas of Asia, Macau’s gambling hub has been a magnet for international tourists for years. However, as the city began re-imagining its tourism strategies post-pandemic, it has grown stronger as an international tourist destination.

Outside tourists brought in $15.6 billion in 2022, and that number is only expected to multiply further over the next decade. This growth is being fueled by China and Hong Kong, which account for the lion’s share of visits.

Note: Although Macau is now a part of China, it remains a Special Administrative Region under the “One Country, Two Systems” principle.

Transforming Travel Trends

The global travel industry continues to recover from the pandemic, which is good news for the many nations that economically rely on tourism.

As travel restrictions were lifted, many tourists flocked to remote destinations that were less traveled. However, this WTTC research is proof that the world’s iconic cities are making their way back onto tourist itineraries once again.

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Markets

Ranked: The World’s Top Flight Routes, by Revenue

In this graphic, we show the highest earning flight routes globally as air travel continued to rebound in 2023.

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The World’s Top Flight Routes, by Revenue

This was originally posted on our Voronoi app. Download the app for free on iOS or Android and discover incredible data-driven charts from a variety of trusted sources.

In 2024, a record 4.7 billion people are projected to travel by air—200 million more than in 2019.

While revenues surged to an estimated $896 billion globally last year, airlines face extremely slim margins. On average, they made just $5.44 in net profit per passenger in 2023. Today, the industry faces pressures from high interest rates, supply chain woes, and steep infrastructure costs.

This graphic shows the highest earning flight routes worldwide, based on data from OAG.

The Top Revenue-Generating Routes in 2023

Below, we show the airline routes with the highest revenues in the first half of 2023:

Route Airport CodesRevenue H1 2023
Sydney to MelbourneSYD-MEL$1.21B
New York to LondonJFK-LHR$1.15B
Riyadh to JeddahRUH-JED$1.03B
Dubai to RiyadhDXB-RUH$990M
Los Angeles to New York LAX-JFK$801M
San Francisco to NewarkSFO-EWR$722M
Newark to Los AngelesEWR-LAX$682M
Singapore to SydneySIN-SYD$650M
New York to Paris JFK-CDG$647M
Perth to MelbournePER-MEL$642M

As we can see, domestic flights comprised six of the 10 largest revenue-generating flights, with Sydney to Melbourne ranking first overall, at $1.21 billion.

In fact, this route is earning more than twice that of pre-pandemic levels, even as the number of passengers declined. The flight route is largely dominated by Qantas and Virgin Australia, with Qantas achieving record-breaking domestic earnings margins of 18% in the fiscal year ending in June 2023. Lower fuel costs and soaring ticket prices were key factors in driving revenues.

Furthermore, Qantas and Virgin Australia are major carriers for flights between Melbourne and Perth, another top-earning route.

New York to London, one of the busiest and most profitable routes globally, generated $1.15 billion in revenues, representing a 37% increase compared to the same period in 2019. Overall, the flight route had 3.88 million scheduled airline seats for the full year of 2023.

The highest revenue increase over this period was for flights from Dubai to Riyadh, with revenues surging 416% year-over-year. This two-hour flight, a highly lucrative route between major financial centers, is one of the busiest in the Middle East.

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