International visitors boosted spending in the world’s most-visited cities this past year and were one of the keys contributors to driving their recovery, according to the Top 100 City Destinations Index 2022, a report released on Dec. 13, from independent market research firm Euromonitor International.

Travelers spent more this year in the places they visited. This “inbound” tourism spending—from transcontinental and inter-regional visitors—has increased by 112 per cent compared to 2021, in spite of inflation. Globally, tourist spend per trip is showing a 13 per cent increase at current 2022 prices, with an average spend of US$1,331 per arrival worldwide. For 2023, total tourist spend is projected to exceed US$1.4 trillion dollars globally. Excerpts from the report were shared with Bloomberg ahead of its release.

Euromonitor International’s index, published annually, looks at the performance of the world’s top 100 cities across six key categories: economic and business performance, tourism performance, tourism infrastructure, tourism policy, health and safety, and sustainability.

In addition to international tourism’s rebound, “the increased interest in value-driven tourism offerings, and consumer preferences for domestic travel and short-haul flights, marked dynamic movements in the ranking in 2022,” said Nadejda Popova, senior project manager at Euromonitor International, in a release. Value-driven tourism refers to the increased importance of sustainable tourism, supporting local communities and responsible tourism practices, Popova said, as travelers also continue to embrace experiential travel.

Globally, across all of these categories, Paris takes the top prize. The City of Lights has also received the most tourism arrivals in 2022, from both domestic and international travelers. Dubai follows in second place as best overall city destination performer, and New York sits in tenth. They are the only two non-European destinations in the top 10. Other usual suspects on the list include Amsterdam, Madrid, Rome, London, Munich, Berlin, and Barcelona. 

A close look at tourism performance as a standalone category also reveals a solid comeback for U.S. cities. On the top 10 list of global urban tourism performance based on growth of international arrivals in 2022, after Paris, New York and Orlando surpass Dubai to come in third and fourth place, respectively. Los Angeles takes the fifth spot ahead of Rome and Amsterdam. 

Qatar, which continues to push for an ambitious tourism development plan and hopes to attract seven million tourists by 2030, ranked 58th overall in this year’s city destinations index.

Globally, travel will continue on its strong recovery path—both international and domestic trips will grow in 2023, the report further suggests. International travel is expected to grow by 40 per cent in 2023, as compared an 80 per cent growth pace in 2022, which Euromonitor International explained isn’t a decline in trips but merely a difference in growth. Inflation may have impacted the pace of recovery for international travel at the end of this year, but it isn’t stopping its continued rebound—yet. “Of course if prolonged, the economic uncertainty and rising cost of living can seriously hurt the rebound of the industry and travellers’ preferences,” said Popova.