2019 was a huge year for international travel. UK based market research company Euromonitor International recently measured and listed the top 100 travel destinations people visited within the past year, and some of the results may surprise you. While Hong Kong has been making major world news headlines due to its political unrest and civilian protests, it remained the number one travel destination for 2019. So much so that Euromonitor reports that by the time the month is up the city will have been visited by 26 million travelers this year alone. The protests have led to an 8.7% decline compared to last year’s stats; however, that didn’t stop the metropolitan city from being at the top of the list.
The decrease in travel isn’t isolated to just Hong Kong. Over-tourism and tourist misconduct has become a growing issue, and has already lead to a lot of restrictive travel policies, especially in Europe. Europe and Asia are the two continents that typically take over Euromonitor’s list every year. However, this year due to a combination of the stricter tourism policies in Europe and an increase in Chinese tourists travelling to other countries within the continent, Asia has dominated the entirety of the list, but Europe and some spots in America are also mixed in there.
Euromonitor reports that Asia had the fastest growth in international traveler arrivals. This is also most likely due to the extreme size of Asia and the many different cultures and countries available for travel lovers to go to. Bangkok and London took the second and third spot on the list; Euromonitor is able to measure all of this information by pulling airline data and marking the parts that show international travelers who spend over 24 hours in their destination. This year, they measured travelers who went to over 400 different cities.
Since the company uses airline data, international travel via cruise ship or any other possible mode of transportation is not taken into account. The reports for 2019 indicated that Asia was the most popular destination for tourists this year, followed by Europe, the Americas, the Middle East and Africa. The reports also predict that European travel is on a relatively steady decline, and Singapore, which took spot number 5 on the list, is the travel destination that will likely gain the most popularity in 2020. Singapore offers a very authentic and engaging tourism market that allows travelers to fully engulf themselves in their culture and beautiful landscapes, which is why it increased in popularity by almost 6% this year.
Euromonitor also reports that in general, tourism is down, and a lot of it has to do with travelers wanting a more “localized” experience.
“They are proving popular as travelers seek newer, more localized experiences and less crowded locations. The popularity and increased number of low-cost carriers to these destinations has also favored the growth of previously less explored destinations,” says Euromonitor.
This is mostly in regards to European travelers, and their desire to branch out more within their own continent. Travelling from country to country is a lot easier in Europe, as there are many forms of public transportation that go all over the continent. It’s for this reason that a majority of European tourists are mainly remaining in Europe, or going “across the pond” to scratch their traveler’s itch. Below is the top 20 list of top travel destinations based on collective data from 2018 and 2019, according to CNN.
Euromonitor’s Top 20 Cities:
Eric Mastrota is a Contributing Editor at The National Digest based in New York. A graduate of SUNY New Paltz, he reports on world news, culture, and lifestyle. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.