Macau was the fifth most visited city in the world in 2017, according to the latest Euromonitor International Top 100 City Destinations report, only behind Hong Kong, Bangkok, London and Singapore.
Following a 10.4 percent increase in the number of visitors in 2017 and a projected 9.2 percent in 2018, the Macau special administrative region rose one place in this year’s rankings to become the fifth most popular city destination in the world.
According to the report, Macau recorded slightly over 18.9 million visitor arrivals in 2018, putting it ahead of fourth-place Singapore with 18.5 million. If the projected figures for 2018 are accurate, Macau may rise yet another spot in next year’s Top 100 City Destinations report.
Official data from the Macau Statistics and Census Service indicates that 2018 visitors to Macau numbered over 32 million. The discrepancy is explained by the fact that the Euromonitor International report does not include same-day visitors, who account for nearly half of Macau arrivals.
The Top 100 City Destinations report highlights the top 100 cities based on international arrivals; defined as international tourists visiting another country for at least 24 hours (but not more than 12 months), for any purpose of visit, and staying in paid or unpaid, collective or private accommodation. Each arrival is counted separately and includes people travelling more than once a year.
The initial data shows that global inbound arrivals grew by 5 percent to 1.4 billion trips in 2018, while arrivals to this year’s top 100 city destinations outperformed, increasing by 7.5 percent year-on-year. Macau is projected to see a 9.2 percent increase once the relevant data has been revised.
This year the continent of Asia continued to rise in prominence, accounting for 41 of the top 100 cities, up from 37 back in 2012.
Euromonitor International notes that list leader Hong Kong, which saw a slump in its tourism industry in 2015 and 2016, has rebounded in the past two years, with the number of visitors growing by 5 percent and 7 percent in 2017 and 2018 respectively. It now stands at a total of nearly 30 million.
The firm describes the neighboring SAR as “the most obvious beneficiary of the Chinese outbound boom, with more than 50 percent of all visitors stemming from the Chinese mainland.” And the prospects are bright for the future with the recent completion of the Zhuhai- Macau-Hong Kong Bridge.
Other Asian cities also saw considerable growth this year. Taipei ranks 17th in this year’s top 100 list, while Tokyo is 14th and Kuala Lumpur ninth. Shenzhen grew by 3 percent in both 2017 and 2018 and, despite falling one position in the past year, has retained its place in the world top 10.
However, Seoul has proved a major exception to the trend. Ranked 16th in last year’s edition of the report, this year the South Korean capital has dropped to 24th. Euromonitor International suggests that a large decline in Chinese visitors caused by political tensions between the two countries is responsible.
Nevertheless, arrivals are expected to pick up slightly in 2018 with easing tensions, the potential for talks with North Korea and the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang.
Top 10 city destinations
- Hong Kong
- New York City
- Kuala Lumpur