In 2018, international tourist arrivals grew by 6% to reach a total of 1.4 billion, according to research by UNWTO World Tourism Barometer. International travel is also set to increase by a massive 35% over the next 10 years with cities in Southeast Asia leading in terms of international arrivals growth.
Euromonitor International’s data predicts for the year 2025 further growth for tourism and this will concern mostly destinations in Southeast Asia. The study looked at over 600 cities around the world and unveiled its forecasts for 2025 from arrival figures for 2018.
International arrivals by city includes visitors from abroad who arrive at the city under review as their first point of entry, and also includes those visitors to the city who arrived in the country via a different point of entry, but then go on to visit the city in question during their trip. Arrivals are defined as international tourists, i.e. any person visiting another country for at least 24 hours, for a period not exceeding 12 months, and staying in paid or unpaid, collective or private accommodation. Each arrival is counted separately and includes people travelling more than once a year and people visiting several cities during one trip. Arrivals encompasses all purposes of visit, such as business, leisure and visiting friends and relatives.
Arrivals excludes domestic visitors, same-day visitors, people in transit and cruise passengers as this can distort arrivals figures at important border crossings and cruise destinations, respectively. It also excludes those in paid employment abroad. Students that stay in a country for a period of more than 12 months are excluded and are considered as temporary residents. Military personnel and transportation crew are excluded, along with displaced people because of war or natural disasters. The ranking focuses on city hubs and tends to exclude beach and ski resorts that may enjoy high volumes of international visitors.
The published report lists estimates for the top 100 cities, highlighting that already 41 cities are now located in Asia, up from 37 in 2012. The trend is likely to continue. From 2018 to 2025, among the top 15 fastest growing cities in the world, 12 will be located in Asia with half of them being in Southeast Asia. Phuket and Jakarta will be the best performers according to Euromonitor International data with total arrivals jumping by respectively 85% and 78% between 2018 and 2025. They would be followed by Ho Chi Minh City up by 75%, Denpasar with 71% and Bangkok with 68%.
However, only four destinations will breach the 20-million international arrivals mark: Bangkok and Singapore will both record over 30 million tourists while Phuket and Kuala Lumpur will record over 20 million travellers.