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The World’s Top City Destinations for 2023 are Revealed

CNN—Paris has once again been named the world’s most attractive city destination, according to an annual report by global market research company Euromonitor International. The Top 100 City Destinations Index 2023, produced in partnership with data company Lighthouse, looked at leading cities from around the world and ranked them on criteria including tourism, sustainability, economic performance and health and safety.

Europe reigned supreme, with seven out of the top 10 cities and 63 countries in the top 100. The only non-European cities in the top 10 were Dubai at No. 2, Tokyo at No.4 and New York at No. 8. Madrid came third, while Amsterdam, Berlin and Rome were at Nos. 5, 6 and 7 respectively. Barcelona and then London rounded out the top 10.

Asia did well in the top 20 as Singapore (11), Seoul (14), Osaka (16) and Hong Kong (17) all made the list.

The report attributes Europe’s success to “fast-paced urbanization and widespread technology adoption.” Travelers now want high-speed internet, flexible booking options and spaces for remote working. Euromonitor International said, “Improving sustainability, transportation networks and social impact are some of the key goals cities are embracing today to increase competitiveness, improve their tourism offer and deliver a seamless customer journey.”

Tokyo entered the top 10 for the first time, which the report says is down to improved tourism infrastructure, the easing of Covid-19-related regulations and the weakened Yen – which offers international visitors great value for money.

Istanbul had the most international visitors in 2023

There were four newcomers in the top 100, which can all boast of improved tourism performance this year: Washington DC at No. 48, Montreal at No. 68, Santiago at No. 88 and Vilnius at No. 92. International travel continued to make a strong recovery, with the number of trips projected to reach 1.3 billion by the end of 2023 – generating around $1.7 trillion in global tourism spending.

Istanbul topped the list for the number of international arrivals in 2023, followed by London and then Dubai. The cities with the biggest year-on-year growth were Hong Kong (2,495%) and Bangkok (142%), due to being among the last to reopen after the Covid-19 pandemic.

However, booming visitor numbers can be a mixed blessing, with negative impacts on the local communities and the environment. Nadejda Popova, a senior manager at Euromonitor International, discussed in a statement the ways cities are facing up to the challenge of overtourism.

“Some destinations are imposing restrictions, steep taxation or reduction of hotel capacity to help limit the influx of tourists and preserve cultural heritage, while others embrace dispersion strategies that promote alternative or off-the-beaten-path destinations,” she said.

She predicted that the rising cost of living, fluctuating inflation and geopolitical volatility will be the biggest hurdles when it comes to tourism growth in 2024 and 2025. Consumers will be looking for value-for-money travel propositions and many will be choosing vacations that are a little closer to home.

The top 20 cities in Euromonitor’s Top 100 City Destinations Index 2023 are:

  1. Paris, France
  2. Dubai, United Arab Emirates
  3. Madrid, Spain
  4. Tokyo, Japan
  5. Amsterdam, the Netherlands
  6. Berlin, Germany
  7. Rome, Italy
  8. New York, United States
  9. Barcelona, Spain
  10. London, United Kingdom
  11. Singapore
  12. Munich, Germany
  13. Milan, Italy
  14. Seoul, South Korea
  15. Dublin, Ireland
  16. Osaka, Japan
  17. Hong Kong
  18. Vienna, Austria
  19. Los Angeles, United States
  20. Lisbon, Portugal

Source: CNN Travel