Tough year in the travel industry for  2009 with slow growth and rising costs of travel, meant people decided to stay closer to home.

There is no doubt that 2009 was a challenging year for the travel industry, which continues to struggle well into the first half of 2010 with increased prices all around. It already looks like 2010 will be one of the most expensive years to travel with airfares almost double what they were in previous years.

A report listing the most visited cities in the world for 2009 has finally been published with some interesting discoveries and changes to the list from previous years. Travellers felt financially constrained and decided to stay closer to home, Europe has been hardest hit with visitor numbers down due to high exchange rate and value of the Euro, with London and New York seeing record number of visitors for the opposite reason of a devalued currency – the wheels have changed in a decade where London easily becomes a better value destination  compared to its European neighbours.

SpainItaly and Greece saw number of visitors drop by an average of 3% due to the hight cost of travel, particularly the value of the Euro. Turkey and Egypt saw double digit increases because costs are less than that of Europe. Cities in the Middle East and Africa enjoyed the biggest growth.


Top Most Visited Cities 2009 with % change from 2007/2008:


1.London -2.0, a weak GBP means London is real value in the EU

2.New York City +23.1, low dollar draws EU visitors

3.Bangkok -5.8

4.Singapore  -1.6

5.Kuala Lumpur  4.2

6.Paris  -4.4, falling numbers continue on top of -10.2% in 2008

7.Antalya  13.8

8.Dubai  13.4

9.Hong Kong  -1.0

10.Istanbul  3.5

11.Mecca  0.4

12.Miami  18.9

13.Toronto  -3.3, down from 8th place in 2008
14.Rome  2.0

15.Shanghai  9.9

16.Los Angeles  5.7

17.Las Vegas  4.6

18.Barcelona  -2.7, Euro means Spain is no longer value for money

19.Dublin  2.0

20.Amsterdam  1.5

21.Macau  12.8

22.Moscow  9.0

23.Pattaya  0.4

24.Cairo  10.7

25.Prague  3.6

26.Guangzhou  9.4

27.Kiev  5.7

28.Vienna  4.2

29.Madrid  0.6

30.Beijing  -13.0

31.Phuket  5.8

32.San Francisco  14.0

33.Shenzhen  12.8

34.Bucharest  17.8

35.Vancouver  -4.8

36.Taipei  -4.9

37.Orlando  3.2

38.Budapest  -2.4

39.Mugla  11.1
40.Rio de Janeiro  7.3

41.Berlin  7.5

42.Tokyo  9.1

43.Mexico City  1.5, hit by the H1N1 virus, visitor numbers drop

44.Montreal  -5.1
45.Edirne  12.2

46.Brussels  3.7

47.Buenos Aires  2.5

48.St Petersburg  12.9

49.Seoul  8.6

50.Athens  5.8

51.Jerusalem  41.0, religious tourism continues to grow

52.Seattle  13.2

53.Delhi  11.6

54.Sydney  -2.5, hight cost of travel and expensive in todays market

55.Mumbai  6.1

56.Munich  2.0

57.Cancún  2.5

58.Denpasar  17.4

59.Warsaw  -10.0

60.Sharm el Sheikh  13.6

61.Ho Chi Minh  16.0 – predicted destination of the 21st century

62.Milan  2.1

63.Oslo  -2.2

64.Chennai  -1.0

65.Lisbon  6.5 – despite the Euro, best value in EU

66.Punta Cana  4.0

67.Johannesburg  5.5

68.Venice  1.9

69.Florence  2.2

70.Tel Aviv  40.3

71.Burgas 16.0

72.São Paulo

30.4 – a rising star in Latin America

73.Marrakech  4.4

74.Agra   11.6

75.Varna  15.0

76.Riyadh  6.5

77.Jakarta  26.4

78.Chiang Mai 1.3

79.Auckland  1.6

80.Jaipur  11.6

81.Calgary  0.8

82.Cape Town 12.9 – expected to grow in 2010 due to World Cup

83.Hurgada  13.6

84.Frankfurt/Main  -1.0

85.Washington DC  12.7

86.Chicago  8.2

87.Hangzhou  13.6

88.Honolulu  -10.3

89.Zhuhai  16.7

90.Edinburgh  1.2

91.Abu Dhabi  6.8

92.Kolkatta  11.6

93.Wellington  4.4

94.Christchurch  6.0

95.Halong 12.3

96.Nice  2.0

97.Minsk  -24.7

98.Manchester  3.7

99.Zurich  15.0

100.Suzhou  8.8

There are some interesting trends and a move away from top cities likeParis falling from the top 5 – down 14% in two years, Latin America is the rising star with double digit increases, particularly cities like Sao Paulo. Overall the travel industry continues to look bleak in 2010, with predictions of the industry not returning back to pre-crisis levels until at least 2013.


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