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The 100 Most Popular City Destinations

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100 Most Popular City Destinations for Travel

The 100 Most Popular City Destinations

The pandemic has grounded many of us, but it can’t curb human wanderlust.

Cities like Hong Kong, Bangkok, and London have led city destination rankings for years, but movement within the ranks below them—revealed in the above infographic—help to highlight the intriguing travel trends happening before COVID-19.

With data from Euromonitor International’s 2019 travel report, we can uncover where travelers are likely headed once their passports are useful again. Pulling data from 400 cities, collected into mid-2019, the report encompasses millions of international travelers who stayed at their destination longer than 24 hours.

Here’s a closer look at where travelers are likely to touch down in post-pandemic life.

Not-So-Lonely At the Top

Although the top of this list has remained fairly stable in terms of rank in recent years, two cities have seen an impressive influx of travelers.

Paris and Istanbul both made significant gains between 2017 and 2019 with 20.6% and 37.2% growth in visitors respectively:

Note that only one North American city, New York City, is found in this top 10. As well, Asian cities account for half of the leading group, with two of the top 10 cities are located in China. Although Hong Kong leads the top 100 list, political turmoil led to a marked decline of international visitors of 4.2% from 2017 to 2019.

The largest rank changes in the top 10 were made by Macau and Istanbul, but the rise was subtle. Both cities gained two spots each between 2013 and 2018, though each had sizable traveler growth rates, with Macau growing by 19.0%.

RankCityCountryArrivals (Millions)5yr Rank ChangeGrowth ('17-19)
1Hong KongChina (SAR)29.26-4.2%
2BangkokThailand24.1715.1%
3LondonUnited Kingdom19.23-1.4%
4MacauChina (SAR)18.93219.0%
5SingaporeSingapore18.55-112.2%
6ParisFrance17.56-120.6%
7DubaiUAE15.923.4%
8New York CityUS13.6017.0%
9Kuala LumpurMalaysia13.4319.6%
10IstanbulTurkey13.43237.2%
11DelhiIndia12.653049.6%
12AntalyaTurkey12.44-140.6%
13ShenzhenChina12.20-52.0%
14MumbaiIndia10.592838.5%
15PhuketThailand10.558.4%
16RomeItaly10.07-38.3%
17TokyoJapan9.99159.3%
18PattayaThailand9.61-18.9%
19TaipeiTaiwan, China9.60-17.7%
20MeccaSaudi Arabia9.5710.3%
21GuangzhouChina9.00-50.1%
22PragueCzechia8.95-33.9%
23MedinaSaudi Arabia8.5510.7%
24SeoulSouth Korea8.43-1019.1%
25AmsterdamNetherlands8.35312.6%
26AgraIndia8.143852.6%
27MiamiUS8.12-76.9%
28OsakaJapan7.866936.2%
29Los AngelesUS7.50-77.8%
30ShanghaiChina7.48-77.8%
31Ho Chi Minh CityVietnam7.20631.6%
32DenpasarIndonesia7.191337.5%
33BarcelonaSpain6.71-611.6%
34Las VegasUS6.59-9-0.8%
35MilanItaly6.48-93.9%
36ChennaiIndia6.42755.8%
37ViennaAustria6.41-87.1%
38Johor BahruMalaysia6.40829.8%
39JaipurIndia6.382942.9%
40CancunMexico6.04171.8%
41BerlinGermany5.96-1010.1%
42CairoEgypt5.751855.1%
43AthensGreece5.731831.3%
44OrlandoUS5.55-108.7%
45MoscowRussia5.51-1024.4%
46VeniceItaly5.50-165.3%
47MadridSpain5.44-86.3%
48Ha LongVietnam5.291444.0%
49RiyadhSaudi Arabia5.27-90.9%
50DublinIreland5.21-129.4%
51FlorenceItaly5.06-153.9%
52Ha NoiVietnam4.692119.3%
53TorontoCanada4.5110.5%
54JohannesburgSouth Africa4.12-103.4%
55SydneyAustralia4.09112.1%
56MunichGermany4.06-711.0%
57JakartaIndonesia4.031730.9%
58BeijingChina4.00-253.8%
59St. PetersburgRussia4.00-1123.9%
60BrusselsBelgium3.94-1324.8%
61JerusalemIsrael3.93-927.0%
62BudapestHungary3.82-710.4%
63LisbonPortugal3.5493.4%
64DammamSaudi Arabia3.50-140.3%
65Penang IslandMalaysia3.44-216.3%
66HeraklionGreece3.40-1-3.8%
67KyotoJapan3.29584.4%
68ZhuhaiChina3.26-94.4%
69VancouverCanada3.211313.3%
70Chiang MaiThailand3.2064.2%
71CopenhagenDenmark3.0787.8%
72San FranciscoUS2.90-143.1%
73MelbourneAustralia2.891220.9%
74KrakowPoland2.85-83.9%
75MarrakechMorocco2.84213.1%
76KolkattaIndia2.831422.3%
77CebuPhilippines2.8151-4.2%
78AucklandNew Zealand2.8069.7%
79Tel AvivIsrael2.78-816.0%
80GuilinChina2.752919.7%
81HonoluluUS2.74-116.0%
82HurgadaEgypt2.7445108.1%
83WarsawPoland2.73-167.2%
84MuglaTurkey2.72-3347.5%
85Buenos Aires CityArgentina2.69-318.6%
86ChibaJapan2.6810614.4%
87FrankfurtGermany2.64-79.2%
88StockholmSweden2.6010.1%
89LimaPeru2.54-1117.5%
90Da NangVietnam2.517244.0%
91BatamIndonesia2.492027.8%
92NiceFrance2.47-1710.7%
93FukuokaJapan2.4410424.6%
94Abu DhabiUAE2.401214.7%
95JejuSouth Korea2.35-8-6.2%
96PortoPortugal2.342211.7%
97RhodesGreece2.34-1110.6%
98Rio de JaneiroBrazil2.28-73.6%
99KrabiThailand2.26-512.7%
100BangaloreIndia2.248350.6%

It’s also worth noting that based on the data collected into 2019, London was projected to continue its downward trend, bringing it to 5th spot—mostly due to complications brought on by Brexit and associated visa restrictions.

Trending: Indian and Japanese Cities Take Flight

Most of the dramatic shifts in city travel patterns are happening below the top 10. Asian hot spots are gaining steam and swiftly making their way up the top 100 rankings, signaling a shift in global preferences before lockdowns began.

Take Japan for instance. The five Japanese cities in the top 100 rose by 352 places collectively since 2013. The country’s top city destinations have had an average traveler growth rate of 17.8% from 2017 to 2019. In light of Japan’s impeccable containment of COVID-19, that trend may be compounded in coming years.

Japan’s dramatic rise in the ranks is echoed by India. India’s seven cities in the top 100 have risen 229 places — with a huge average growth rate of 44.6% from 2017 to 2019. Some of that growth is the result of lifestyle tourism, particularly in the case of Delhi, which saw its traveler rate grow by 49.6% since 2017.

Prior to the pandemic, Delhi was expected to continue that steady growth and experience a leap in rank, which currently sits at 11.

With health and wellness tourism on the rise, India has gained noteworthy attention for its yoga retreats and Ayurveda practices. Delhi’s connectivity to important locations across North India has boosted inbound arrivals to the city.

— Euromonitor International

Where in the World? Asia and Europe

Asia continues to lead all other regions, followed by Europe.

Since 2013, the number of Asian cities in the top 100 has grown from 34 to 43. Asian outbound travel has also seen a surge, spurring a rise in travel campaigns from Europe and the Americas that target Asian travelers on social media platforms like WeChat.

Why the Ranking Matters: In Travel, They Trust

Before the pandemic, tourism was considered a leading and resilient economic sector.

In 2019, 1.5 billion people traveled internationally. By 2030, that number could grow to 1.8 billion—and many cities could become increasingly reliant on tourist dollars.

According to the World Travel and Tourism Council, cities like Macau, Cancun, Marrakech, and Las Vegas are all heavily dependent on direct tourism and travel contributions to their respective GDPs. As of 2018, more than 50% of Macau’s GDP was derived directly from tourism, while almost half of Cancun’s GDP relies on travelers.

Countries like India and the Philippines are also particularly reliant on travel. India has a related job-to-tourist ratio of two jobs for every tourist and the Philippines has a ratio of one job per tourist.

By 2030, there could be 1.8 billion tourists – just over one in five persons in the world–traveling around the globe.

United Nations World Tourism Organization

Where to Next? Wheels Up

Millions of travelers don’t lie — the siren call of cities is undeniable. In turn, those tourists have become a major lifeforce for many of these destinations, and a boon for the international travel industry.

The pandemic has thrown these dynamics off course, with much of the world grinding to a halt since early 2020. However, it’s only a matter of time before the world opens back up again.

Although travel may look very different in the future, wanderlust doesn’t simply disappear. In fact, frustrated travelers — including digital nomads and remote workers — may have all the more reason to run away.

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Markets

3D Map: The U.S. Cities With the Highest Economic Output

The total U.S. GDP stands at a whopping $21 trillion, but which metro areas contribute to the most in terms of economic output?

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US Cities by Economic Output

3D Map: The U.S. Cities With the Highest Economic Output

At over $21 trillion, the U.S. holds the title of the world’s largest economy—accounting for almost a quarter of the global GDP total. However, the fact is that a few select cities are responsible for a large share of the country’s total economic output.

This unique 3D map from HowMuch puts into perspective the city corridors which contribute the most to the American economy at large.

Top 10 Metros by Economic Output

The visualization pulls the latest data from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA, 2018), and ranks the top 10 metro area economies in the country.

One thing is immediately clear—the New York metro area dwarfs all other metro area by a large margin. This cluster, which includes Newark and Jersey City, is bigger than the metro areas surrounding Los Angeles and Chicago combined.

RankMetro AreaState codesGDP (2018)
#1New York-Newark-Jersey CityNY-NJ-PA $1.77T
#2Los Angeles-Long Beach-AnaheimCA$1.05T
#3Chicago-Naperville-ElginIL-IN-WI$0.69T
#4San Francisco-Oakland-BerkeleyCA$0.55T
#5Washington-Arlington-AlexandriaDC-VA-MD-WV$0.54T
#6Dallas-Fort Worth-ArlingtonTX$0.51T
#7Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar LandTX$0.48T
#8Boston-Cambridge-NewtonMA-NH$0.46T
#9Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington PA-NJ-DE-MD$0.44T
#10Atlanta-Sandy Springs-AlpharettaGA$0.40T
Total GDP$6.90T

Coming in fourth place is San Francisco on the West Coast, with $549 billion in total economic output each year. Meanwhile in the South, the Dallas metroplex brings in $478 billion, placing it sixth in the ranks.

It’s worth noting that using individual metro areas is one way to view things, but geographers also think of urban life in broader terms as well. Given the proximity of cities in the Northeast, places like Boston, NYC, and Washington, D.C. are sometimes grouped into a single megaregion. When viewed this way, the corridor is actually the world’s largest in economic terms.

U.S. States: Sum of Its Parts

Zooming out beyond just these massive cities demonstrates the combined might of the U.S. in another unique way. Tallying all the urban and rural areas, every state economy can be compared to the size of entire countries.

US States and Country Comparison by GDP 2018

According to the American Enterprise Institute, the state of California brings in a GDP that rivals the United Kingdom in its entirety.

By this same measure, Texas competes with Canada in terms of pure economic output, despite a total land area that’s 15 times less that of the Great White North.

With COVID-19 continuing to impact parts of the global economy disproportionately, how will these kinds of economic comparisons hold up in the future?

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Such Great Heights: Where Are the World’s Tallest Buildings?

How much higher and further into the skies can we reach? This infographic looks at the most impressive skyscrapers gracing every continent.

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Such Great Heights: The World’s Tallest Buildings

It seems that humanity is always vying to exceed our past accomplishments, and nowhere is the evidence clearer than in the tallest buildings that make up our cities.

We’ve previously looked at how the architectural feats of humanity have simply grown in magnitude over time, tracing this progress as far back as the Stone Age.

The question now is, how much higher and further into the skies can we reach? This infographic by Alan’s Factory Outlet looks at the glittering urban skyscrapers on every continent. We also examine some interesting facts about each region.

Asia: Growing Ever Upwards

The first name on this list certainly needs no introduction. Dubai’s Burj Khalifa is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the Middle East. With just a one minute elevator ride to the Burj Khalifa’s pinnacle, it must seem like even the sky is no longer the limit.

BuildingCity, CountryHeight# Floors
Burj Khalifa🇦🇪 Dubai, UAE828m / 2,715ft163
Shanghai Tower🇨🇳 Shanghai, China632m / 2,073ft128
Makkah Royal Clock Tower Hotel🇸🇦 Mecca, Saudi Arabia601m / 1,971ft120
Goldin Finance 117🇨🇳 Tianjin, China597m / 1,958ft128
Ping An Finance Center🇨🇳 Shenzhen, China592m / 1,965ft115

Ping An Finance Center from Shenzhen edges into fifth place on the list, and it’s worth mentioning the speed of change occurring in the city. China’s hi-tech capital will see the completed construction of approximately 51 buildings over 145m (476ft) by the end of 2020.

North America: Concrete Jungle

The One World Trade Center, built to memorialize the loss of the Twin Towers after September 11th, 2001, is also informally called the “Freedom Tower”. It’s exactly 1,776ft high—symbolizing the year the U.S. Declaration of Independence was adopted.

BuildingCity, CountryHeight# Floors
One World Trade Center🇺🇸 New York City, U.S.541m / 1,776ft104
Central Park Tower🇺🇸 New York City, U.S.472m / 1,550ft98
Willis Tower🇺🇸 Chicago, U.S.442.1m / 1,451ft110
111 West 57th Street🇺🇸 New York City, U.S.435m / 1,428ft82
One Vanderbilt🇺🇸 New York City, U.S.427m / 1,401ft67

While the Central Park Tower has reached its full height, parts of the interior are still undergoing construction. The price of luxury apartments in the complex start at $7 million for a two-bedroom, just in case you had any extra change lying around.

In fact, the illustrious New York City holds four of the top five buildings on the continent. However, a nod also goes to the Willis Tower (formerly Sears Tower) in Chicago, an imposing office building which held the title of world’s tallest building for 25 years, until the Petronas Towers were erected in Kuala Lumpur.

Europe: Russia’s Reign

The top five tallest buildings in Europe can all be found in Russia. What’s more, those from Moscow are all clustered within a single towering business district known as “Moscow-City”.

BuildingCity, CountryHeight# Floors
Lakhta Center🇷🇺 Saint Petersburg, Russia462.5m / 1,517ft87
Federation Tower: East Tower🇷🇺 Moscow, Russia373.7m / 1,226ft101
OKO: South Tower🇷🇺 Moscow, Russia354.1m / 1,161ft85
Neva Tower 2🇷🇺 Moscow, Russia345m / 1,132ft79
Mercury City Tower🇷🇺 Moscow, Russia338.8m / 1,112ft75

This begs the question—why doesn’t Europe build more skyscrapers? There’s an interesting historical reasoning behind this. As North America’s new age ideals and influence on the world stage grew, European cultural values focused on preserving heritage.

Of course, with globalization, things have changed somewhat, and major financial centers of London, Paris and more boast unique skylines of their own.

Oceania: The Views Down Under

Australia’s buildings unsurprisingly dominate the tallest ones in the region. In the surfer’s paradise, Q1 on the Gold Coast has a twist in its design—literally. Its architecture is loosely based on studies of ribbons moving in the wind, as they wrap around the tower.

BuildingCity, CountryHeight# Floors
Q1🇦🇺 Gold Coast, Australia323m / 1,058 ft78
Australia 108🇦🇺 Melbourne, Australia316.7m / 1,039 ft100
Eureka Tower🇦🇺 Melbourne, Australia297m / 974.4ft91
Crown Sydney🇦🇺 Sydney, Australia271.3m / 889.1ft75
Aurora Melbourne Central🇦🇺 Melbourne, Australia270.5m / 889.1 ft92

The Eureka Tower has a fascinating story behind it, too. It’s named after the 1854 Victorian gold rush, with elements of the building reflecting this history—from a gold crown to a red stripe for revolutionary bloodshed.

South America: Views From the Top

The tallest buildings in South America are mainly residential, and often found in Brazil, Argentina, and Venezuela—but Chile is the one standout exception to this rule.

BuildingCity, CountryHeight# Floors
Gran Torre Santiago🇨🇱 Santiago, Chile300m / 984ft62
Yachthouse Residence Club Towers 1 and 2🇧🇷 Balneário Camboriú, Brazil281m / 922ft81
Alvear Tower🇦🇷 Buenos Aires, Argentina239m / 784ft54
Infinity Coast🇧🇷 Balneário Camboriú, Brazil235m / 771ft66
Parque Central Complex: East Tower🇻🇪 Caracas, Venezuela225m / 738ft59

Gran Torre Santiago is a retail and office complex, and the largest shopping mall across Latin America. It’s often considered the heart of Chile, and built to hold its ground steadfastly in the earthquake-prone country.

Africa: Budding Buildings

Located in South Africa’s largest city, The Leonardo is the jewel of Johannesburg. The tallest building in Africa was also designed by an architectural team of mostly women.

BuildingCity, CountryHeight# Floors
The Leonardo🇿🇦 Johannesburg, South Africa234m / 768ft55
Carlton Center🇿🇦 Johannesburg, South Africa223m / 732ft50
Britam Tower🇰🇪 Nairobi, Kenya200m / 660ft31
Ponte City Apartments🇿🇦 Johannesburg, South Africa173m / 568ft54
UAP Tower🇰🇪 Nairobi, Kenya163m / 535 ft33

For African nations, these tallest buildings mean much more than just breaking engineering records. In a journal article, it’s posited that skyscrapers can act as a symbol of power and the continent’s drive towards modernity.

Future Superstar Skyscrapers

A few more mammoth buildings are expected to rise up in the next couple years. Saudi Arabia’s 167-floor Jeddah Tower, while currently on hold, could someday take over the first place crown.

Meanwhile, Dubai’s set to outdo itself—and compete directly with Saudi Arabia. The Kingdom Tower is inspired by the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, and is proposed to break the 1 kilometer-high (or 0.6 mile) mark not yet achieved by any building.

Who knows what greater heights we could scale this century?

Each of us is carving a stone, erecting a column, or cutting a piece of stained glass in the construction of something much bigger than ourselves.

—Adrienne Clarkson, Former Governor General of Canada

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