When one studies the latest edition of the World’s Top Cities from Euromonitor International, it becomes apparent that a major shift in the nexus of global international travel activity from Europe and the West to points elsewhere is taking place.
To be sure, the United States has a strong appeal as a long-haul international destination, but the four cities from the USA in the Top 50 Destinations in 2018– New York City, Miami, Los Angeles and Orlando—along with Cancun, Mexico, constitute the only five destinations in the Top 50 Cities based on the number of international visitors who made the trek to the Americas in the past year.
Instead of making that long-haul flight or long connection to the USA, travelers from Asia and the Middle East are visiting destinations and cities within or near their home: of the Top 50 Cities, 31 are located in Asia and the Middle East.
It seems clear that this tendency on the part of travelers from Asia and the Middle East to visit within these regions—as more people globally are traveling internationally—is one of the reasons that the U.S. has lost share on the global travel market place.
The list below, culled from Euromonitor’s study of some 600 cities and its list of the Top 100 Cities, shows that the U.S. is going to have to work to increase its share as it competes in a marketplace crowded with attractive and appealing destinations who have become better marketers.
*Methodology and Definitions: Euromonitor International’s city arrivals research covers over 600 cities. This report highlights the top 100 cities based on 2017 international arrivals. International arrivals by city includes visitors from abroad who arrive at the city under review as their first point of entry, and also includes those visitors to the city who arrived in the country via a different point of entry, but then go on to visit the city in question during their trip.
Arrivals are defined as international tourists, i.e. any person visiting another country for at least 24 hours, for a period not exceeding 12 months, and staying in paid or unpaid, collective or private accommodation. Each arrival is counted separately and includes people travelling more than once a year and people visiting several cities during one trip. Arrivals encompasses all purposes of visit, such as business, leisure and visiting friends and relatives.
Arrivals excludes domestic visitors, same-day visitors, people in transit and cruise passengers as this can distort arrivals figures at important border crossings and cruise destinations, respectively. It also excludes those in paid employment abroad. Students that stay in a country for a period of more than 12 months are excluded and are considered as temporary residents. Military personnel and transportation crew are excluded, along with displaced people because of war or natural disasters. The ranking focuses on city hubs and tends to exclude beach and ski resorts that may enjoy high volumes of international visitors.