Beijing could one day become a more powerful city than Paris for tourism


People taking pictures in front of an art installation for Chinese Lunar New Year celebrations in Beijing. — AFP

While China has now reopened its borders after more than two years of Covid-19 restrictions, the country is forecast to become a major tourist destination in a report from the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), a global forum that analyses the economic and social impact of the travel industry.

In fact, in not more than 10 years, Beijing could become a more powerful city than Paris in terms of tourism.

One way of assessing the popularity and power of a destination would be to analyse the number of international visitors it welcomes each year. But this power can also be framed in terms of other indicators, such as the economic impact of the tourism sector on a city’s GDP.

From this perspective, Paris comes out on top, with a travel and tourism sector worth US$35.65bil (about RM152bil) to the city’s GDP, according to a report published by the World Tourism and Travel Council, which also analysed traveller spending and tourism sector employment in 82 cities around the world. As part of this document, compiled in partnership with Visa and Oxford Economics, the WTTC has drawn up its list of the world’s “most powerful tourism cities”.

Paris currently leads the way in this ranking. But, by 2032, Beijing could well steal the show with economic benefits estimated at US$77.28bil (about RM330bil), relegating Paris to third place.

A woman taking a selfie at a park in Beijing. The city is predicted to be the most popular travel destination this year. — APA woman taking a selfie at a park in Beijing. The city is predicted to be the most popular travel destination this year. — AP

The Chinese capital is already poised to make tourism one of its major economic drivers. It is currently the second most powerful city destination in the world.

China recently announced that it is opening up after more than two years of restrictions due to Covid-19, and the country has not been idle when it comes to structuring its tourism offer.

“China’s national Travel and Tourism sector has seen phenomenal growth over the last decade as the country has invested in new hotels, transport infrastructure and new tourist destinations,” writes the WTTC.

By 2032, Shanghai is expected to be the second most-powerful city destination, with US$70.88bil (RM302.4bil) in economic impact. And these two behemoths won’t be the only destinations making China a top tourist hotspot.

The largest city in southern China, Guangzhou, is also expected to rise in prominence, with a travel and tourism sector worth US$34.94bil (RM170.4bil), while the Macau administrative region could see a greater economic contribution from tourism than New York (United States), Bangkok (Thailand) and Tokyo (Japan).

Macau is even forecast to become the second global destination where international visitors spend the most, rising to US$43.14bil/RM180bil (behind Hong Kong). Today, Dubai is the destination with the biggest international traveller spend. – AFP Relaxnews

Top 10 cities based on direct travel & tourism GDP in real terms for 2022.

1. Paris - US$35.65bil (about RM152bil)

2. Beijing - US$32.62bil (RM139bil)

3. Orlando, Florida in the US - US$31.1bil (RM132bil)

4. Shanghai - US$29.69bil (RM127bil)

5. Las Vegas - US$22.99bil (RM98bil)

6. New York - US$21.09bil (RM90bil)

7. Tokyo - US$17.97bil (RM77bil)

8. Mexico City - US$16.76bil (RM71.5bil)

9. London - US$14.92bil (RM63.6bil)

10. Guangzhou - US$13.15bil (RM56bil)

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