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.
Spain, Italy 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
5.Kuala Lumpur 4.2
6.Paris -4.4, falling numbers continue on top of -10.2% in 2008
9.Hong Kong -1.0
13.Toronto -3.3, down from 8th place in 2008
16.Los Angeles 5.7
17.Las Vegas 4.6
18.Barcelona -2.7, Euro means Spain is no longer value for money
32.San Francisco 14.0
40.Rio de Janeiro 7.3
43.Mexico City 1.5, hit by the H1N1 virus, visitor numbers drop
47.Buenos Aires 2.5
48.St Petersburg 12.9
51.Jerusalem 41.0, religious tourism continues to grow
54.Sydney -2.5, hight cost of travel and expensive in todays market
60.Sharm el Sheikh 13.6
61.Ho Chi Minh 16.0 – predicted destination of the 21st century
65.Lisbon 6.5 – despite the Euro, best value in EU
66.Punta Cana 4.0
70.Tel Aviv 40.3
30.4 – a rising star in Latin America
78.Chiang Mai 1.3
82.Cape Town 12.9 – expected to grow in 2010 due to World Cup
85.Washington DC 12.7
91.Abu Dhabi 6.8
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.
Euromonitor International Top City Destination Ranking 2009
Euromonitor International Top City Destination Ranking 2008