Paris, France, has been called many names, including the “City of Lights” and “City of Love.” Now the capital of France can also be called “the world’s most powerful city destination,” according to a new report.

The report by the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) looked at cities around the world and analyzed key economic indicators for those cities, such as travel and tourism’s contribution to their gross domestic product (GDP), the number of people working in the travel and tourism industry in that city, and the amount of money visitors spend there each year. The report was sponsored by financial services company Visa and researched in partnership with economic advisory firm Oxford Economics.

Paris earned the honor of “the world’s most powerful city destination” because its travel and tourism sector took in a world-leading almost $36 billion U.S. in 2022, according to the WTTC. Interestingly, however, that amount accounted for just 3.5 percent of the city’s economy.

Beijing is the world’s second biggest city destination because its travel and tourism industry took in nearly $33 billion U.S. last year.

Two U.S. cities, Orlando, Florida, and Las Vegas, were also ranked in the top 5 for biggest city destinations — showing just how important tourism is to each city’s economy. In 2022, travel and tourism accounted for just over $33 billion worth of revenue for Orlando, which was a whopping 20.4 percent of its gross domestic product, WTTC reports.

Meanwhile, Las Vegas’ travel and tourism sector accounted for almost $23 billion in 2022, which was slightly more than 16 percent of the city’s economic income, according to WTTC.

Here are the top 10 “world’s most powerful city destinations,” based on travel and tourism’s impact on GDP, according to the WTTC.

  1. Paris ($35.65 billion)
  2. Beijing ($32.62 billion)
  3. Orlando ($31.1 billion)
  4. Shanghai ($29.69 billion)
  5. Las Vegas ($22.99 billion)
  6. New York ($21.09 billion)
  7. Tokyo ($17.97 billion)
  8. Mexico City ($16.76 billion)
  9. London ($14.92 billion)
  10. Guangzhou ($13.15 billion)

A Look At Projected Growth

The WTTC forecasts that some cities on the list will move up in rankings over the next 10 years while others slip. China’s national travel and tourism sector, for example, has invested heavily over the last 10 years in new hotels, transportation infrastructure, and building tourism destinations to make its cities more appealing to international and domestic travelers alike.

Consequently, by 2032, Beijing, for instance, is expected to become “the world’s most powerful city destination” because its travel and tourism industry is expected to bring in just over U.S. $77 billion, WTTC forecasts. Furthermore, Shanghai’s travel and tourism sector, worth nearly $30 billion, is expected to more than double to $71 billion by 2032, WTTC continues. That would make Shanghai the world’s second most powerful city destination.

“Major cities such as London, Paris, and New York will remain global powerhouses but over the next few years, Beijing, Shanghai, and Macau will be moving up the list of top city destinations,” Julia Simpson, WTTC president and CEO, said in a statement. “Tourists will always have favorite cities that they will return to, but as other countries prioritize travel and tourism, we will see new and emerging destinations challenge the traditional favorites.”

Here then, is the WTTC’s forecast for the top 10 “world’s most powerful city destinations” in 2032 based on travel and tourism’s impact on GDP.

  1. Beijing ($77.28 billion)
  2. Shanghai ($70.88 billion)
  3. Paris ($49.15 billion)
  4. Orlando ($45 billion)
  5. Las Vegas ($36.55 billion)
  6. Guangzhou ($34.94 billion)
  7. New York ($34.28 billion)
  8. Macau ($33.33 billion)
  9. Bangkok ($31.52 billion)
  10. Tokyo ($29.94 billion)

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