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Hong Kong Likely to Remain As World’s Most Popular City in 2019

HONG KONG – Hong Kong is likely to maintain its position as the most popular city with international visitors in the world in 2019, following months of political unrest that resulted in a sharp drop in tourist numbers.
In the meantime, New York City drops out of the top ten, and for the first time, Delhi joins the ranks.
The World Market Research company, Euromonitor International’s, Top 100 City Destinations report shows Asian destinations dominating the list, with more than 40 entries.
London is forecast to round out the top five, although two places are dropped in the midst of an uncertain future as Brexit could lead to tighter visa restrictions for EU citizens.
Inbound arrivals are expected to rise to 1.5 billion trips in 2019 by 4.2 million worldwide.
New York City, America’s most successful international travel destination, is predicted to fall from the eighth spot to No. 11, while Miami (29), Los Angeles (33) and Las Vegas (38) were the next highest US cities on the list.
In recent years, pressure from Asia and Europe has seen the majority of American cities slip, despite the positive rise in arrivals for the rest.
According to the author of the report, Rabia Yasmeen, who added that many US cities are actively trying to tap the lucrative Chinese tourism market, growing trade tension with China is “one of the major concerns for the travel industry.”
Euromonitor’s work includes travellers from abroad, or “arrivals,” who live in over 400 cities around the world for more than 24 hours and less than a year. Arrivals include people traveling for business, leisure and family or friends to visit, but excludes those employed or educated abroad as well as military personnel, transport crew, cruise passengers and people displaced by war or natural disasters.
The rankings for 2019 are determined using forecasts based on data from part-year arrivals, meaning the position of Hong Kong as the hub for international travellers could still change. The tourist industry in the city has been hit hard by protests that have been raging since June almost every week.
Senior Euromonitor analyst, Simon Haven, however, said strong numbers of arrivals in the first half of the year would reduce the impact of protests on total annual number of visitors.
“Inbound arrivals increased by 14% over the same timeframe last year between January and June 2019. In July, arrivals began to drop, with the most significant drop in August, when the region experienced a 40% drop compared to August 2018,” he wrote in an e-mail.
“According to the latest data available from the Hong Kong Tourism Board and Euromonitor projections, overall incoming arrivals to Hong Kong are expected to decline by 5% to 10% in 2019,” Haven said.
Due to its lead over Bangkok and strong performance in 2018, this decline would keep the Asian financial hub in pole position in 2019.
More broadly, the list of Euromonitor shows a boom in Asian tourism. The region represents significantly more locations than any other, and since the first edition was published in 2013, the number has steadily increased.
According to the study, travellers in Asia are responsible for much of the growth as income levels rise and the number of Chinese tourists to other countries-as well as millennial travellers from all over the world-rise.
It is expected that the biggest leap up the rankings in 2019 will come from Hurghada in Egypt, which is expected to take 63rd place after joining the top 100 last year in 82nd place.
Egypt remains North Africa’s leading destination, with Cairo also enjoying strong growth, thanks in part to a tourism reform program and enhancing security. Certain notable climbers among the top 100 include the Philippines ‘ Indian cities like Agra and Bangalore, and Cebu.
In Europe, more traditional travel hot spots like Barcelona, Milan and Vienna have slid down the rankings, while cities in “off the beaten path destinations such as Croatia, Slovenia and Sweden have moved up”, the report said.
For the most part, however, such locations are yet to break the top 100.
(Sahar News Monitoring Desk)

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