Is your city tourist-ready?

These Asia-Pacific cities are most prepared to manage growing tourism

Overlooking Auckland, New Zealand. YIUCHEUNG/Shutterstock

All but one of the 10 cities with the fastest-growing travel and tourism GDP in the coming decade are forecast to be in Asia-Pacific, according to Destination 2030, a joint report from World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) and JLL. However, some are handling the strains of tourism better than the others.

Auckland, Seoul and Sydney joined the likes of London and Lisbon on the report’s list of “mature performers”, cities that have strong leisure and/or business travel dynamics and an established tourism infrastructure. These destinations are more at equilibrium and not yet seeing many overt signs of tourism pressure.

“For a city to truly thrive and for travel and tourism to develop in a sustainable manner, city planning authorities, developers, investors, legislators and community groups, need to understand how prepared the city is for future expected growth in tourism and the resulting challenges and opportunities it may face,” said Gloria Guevara, president and CEO of WTTC, in a statement.

Other cities on the mature performers list are Berlin, Dublin, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Madrid, Miami, New York and Seville.

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Like mature performers, cities in the “balanced dynamics” category are “in the most favorable and ready position to manage the current levels of growth,” researchers stated.

Beijing, Hong Kong, Osaka, Shanghai, Singapore and Tokyo fell into this category, comprising global financial hubs with a dynamic corporate presence, which accounts for a significant amount of the tourism market demand.

Such cities benefit from strong urban infrastructure, as evidenced by the opening of the world’s largest sea bridge between Hong Kong, Macau and Zhuhai last year and the planned expansion of Singapore’s Changi airport.

“Whether a city is looking to bolster its travel and tourism industry or manage growth, the approach needs to be strategic, purposeful and comprehensive,” said Dan Fenton, executive vice president for JLL. “By considering all components that make up a city’s character, policies that achieve the best possible results for business leaders, community members and visitors can be put into place.”

Chicago, Dubai, Munich, and Washington DC round out the balanced dynamics category.