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New research reveals global cities’ readiness for tourism growth

New research reveals global cities’ readiness for tourism growth
July 14, 2019

A new global index report from World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) and JLL, has assessed the preparedness of 50 cities for future tourism growth.

Acknowledging the challenges that accompany tourism growth, WTTC began thought leadership on destination management in 2017 with its ‘Managing Overcrowding in Tourism Destinations’ report alongside McKinsey & Company.

Now its new research with JLL advances the agenda once more by addressing what makes a city ready for tourism growth.

With tourism an essential industry - that contributes 10.4% to global GDP and which has been responsible for the creation of one in five new jobs over the last five years - cities and city tourism drive both country and sector growth on a significant scale.

WTTC advise that “cities are global hubs accelerating business, innovation and job creation all around the world.

“Today, over half (55%) of the of the world’s population lives in urban areas and this proportion is expected to rise to 68% by 2050. Forecasts show that urbanisation and population growth could add another 2.5 billion people to urban areas by 2050.”

Five typologies were defined on the basis of the level of readiness: dawning developers; emerging Performers; balanced dynamics; mature Performers and managing momentum.

Highlights and Key Findings from the research include:

‘Emerging Performers’ and ‘Dawning Developers’ 
• Cities in these categories tend to be in emerging countries, with a lower level of urban readiness. To improve their readiness, efforts should be focused on developing and enhancing urban infrastructure such as airport connectivity, accommodation stock and addressing environmental issues such as waste and water quality.

Examples include Bogota, Cairo, Delhi and Istanbul.

‘Mature Performers’ and ‘Balanced Dynamics’ 
• These represent cities with an established urban readiness and tourism infrastructure, but which are not yet seeing many overt signs of tourism pressure in the comparable data. Based on findings of the research, cities in these two categories are in the most favourable and ready position to manage the current levels of growth.

Examples include New York, London, Auckland, Berlin (mature) and Singapore, Beijing, Osaka and Hong Kong (balanced).

‘Managing Momentum’
• European and North American cities such as Amsterdam, Barcelona, and San Francisco occupy the whole ‘Managing Momentum’ category. These cities have, in recent years, seen high tourism growth momentum but at the same time have either experienced tourism pressures or are at the risk of facing potential issues. 

Commenting on the findings, WTTC President and Chief Executive, Gloria Guevara stated “we are delighted to launch ‘Destination 2030’, our first comprehensive assessment of cities’ readiness for tourism growth, through the development of a unique methodology to evaluate and deliver on solutions to foster sustainable growth in tourism activity.

“Tourism authorities in many major cities around the world are working incredibly hard to prepare for the future. However, for a city to truly thrive and for travel and tourism to develop in a sustainable manner, city planning authorities, developers, investors, legislators and community groups, need to understand how prepared the city is for future expected growth in tourism and the resulting challenges and opportunities it may face.” 

JLL Executive Vice President, Dan Fenton added “whether a city is looking to bolster its travel and tourism industry or manage growth, the approach needs to be strategic, purposeful and comprehensive.

“By considering all components that make up a city’s character, policies that achieve the best possible results for business leaders, community members and visitors can be put into place.” 

To see the full report and to further understand how cities around the world are responding to these growing pressures go to wttc.org/Destination2030 

Images: Singapore's Clarke Quay (top), India's capital of New Delhi (middle) and WTTC President and Chief Executive, Gloria Guevara (below).

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10th April 2019 - WTTC launches tourism best practices toolkit to inform governments

8th April 2019 - WTTC recognises sustainable tourism excellence with 2019 Awards

17th March 2019 - Rise of wellness holidays an antidote to overtourism

2nd February 2019 - World Tourism Association launched to combat overtourism

12th December 2018 - WTTC highlights role of tourism in attaining a carbon neutral world by 2050

21st November 2018 - New UNWTO Report helps cities manage impacts of ‘overtourism’

3rd October 2018 - Overtourism leads to indefinite closure of iconic Thai bay

14th August 2018 - WTTC research shows tourism generated 18% of New Zealand’s GDP in 2017

26th April 2018 - WTTC and UN Climate Change in new partnership to tackle global warming

23rd March 2018 - WTTC says one in five of all new jobs created globally in 2017 are attributable to tourism

3rd February 2018 - Tourism to generate 2.4 million new jobs in Indonesia

13th June 2017 - New WTTC research shows global tourism supports twice as many jobs as the financial sector


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