WTTC Cities Research

Cities Economic Impact Report

The World Travel & Tourism Council’s (WTTC) City Travel & Tourism Economic Impact Report for 2018 quantifies the economic contribution of Travel & Tourism in 73 cities around the world. This edition also highlights successful initiatives, strategies and policies that have been implemented by cities. Over half (55%) of the world’s population lives in urban areas. Cities have become global economic hubs, driving growth and innovation, while attracting more and more people who come to live, do business and discover them. Not surprisingly, therefore, nearly half of global international travel takes place in cities.

Key highlights include:

  • Travel & Tourism in these 73 cities directly accounted for 4.4% of city GDP (US$ 691 bn) and 17 million jobs, or 5.7% of total employment in these cities in 2018.
  • International visitor spending is more important to cities than it usually is to countries as a whole. International visitors accounted for 45% of tourism spending across the 73 cities in our study, compared to just 29% for economies worldwide.
  • Revenues from international visitors will in many cases pay for infrastructure projects, the provision of public workers and services that improve the quality of life for residents.
  • Cities which are over-reliant on domestic or international demand are more exposed to economic and geo-political risks.
  • A few cities demonstrate a more balanced split between domestic and international demand, including Cancún, Munich, Cairo, Tokyo, Mecca, San Francisco and New York.
  • Direct Travel & Tourism GDP across 73 cities grew by 3.6% in 2018, above the overall city economy growth of 3.0%.
  • Six of the top ten largest cities in terms of the size of Travel & Tourism sector (as measured by direct Travel & Tourism GDP) are in Asia-Pacific. As of 2018, Shanghai, Paris and Beijing have the largest T&T economies of the cities in the study.
  • Achieving sustainable growth for Travel & Tourism in cities requires a focus that extends far beyond the sector itself and one that is integrated into the broader urban agenda.

For more information and in-depth cities reports, please contact us via our data enquiries form.

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