The non-profit World Travel & Tourism Council, which has studied the economic impact of travel and tourism across 185 countries for the past 30 years, came to the conclusion that more money was spent on and generated by tourism in the City of Light than in any other city on the planet.
The study examined tourism’s contribution to GDP, employment and traveller spend.
The organisation’s top 10 was dominated by US and Chinese cities, while London slipped in at ninth in the listing.
But Paris took the crown as the world’s most powerful city destination. Its travel and tourism industry was worth almost $36 billion (€33.2 billion) in 2022, in terms of direct GDP contribution to the city.
In total, 34.5 million tourists visited Paris in 2022, according to the Observatoire de l’Office du tourisme de Paris, figures approaching 2019 levels, as visitors returned after the Covid-19 pandemic – and a marked increase on the 19 million recorded in 2021.
Some 5.8 million visitors headed to the Eiffel Tower, 7.8 million people visited the Louvre Museum, and 6.9 million admissions were recorded for the Château de Versailles, all nudging back towards pre pandemic levels.
But the 2024 Olympic Games is a key reason for Paris’s place at the top of the pile, with the city making significant investments in terms of infrastructure and security in preparation for the event.
The WTTC has predicted that, although tourism’s overall benefit to the Paris economy will rise to $49 billion in 10 years, the city will drop to third in the overall list as rivals – notably Beijing, which is expected to see the tourist economy boost its GDP to the tune of $77 billion – up their tourism game.
“Major cities such as London, Paris, and New York will remain global powerhouses but over the next few years, Beijing, Shanghai and Macau will be moving up the list of top city destinations,” the organisation said as it published the results of its 2022 study.
“Tourists will always have favourite cities that they will return to, but as other countries prioritise travel and tourism, we are going to see new and emerging destinations challenging the traditional favourites.”
The top 10 most powerful tourist cities in the world in 2022 were, according to the WTTC:
- Paris, France
- Beijing, China
- Orlando, US
- Shanghai, China
- Las Vegas, US
- New York, US
- Tokyo, Japan
- Mexico City, Mexico
- London, UK
- Guangzhou, China