(CNN) — There are many ways to gauge a city’s success as a tourist destination beyond the number of visitors it receives.
Infrastructure, sustainability and economics must be considered; how it meets the challenges of attracting and welcoming travelers while maintaining residents’ quality of life; and then there is the effectiveness of its response to the covid-19 pandemic.
UK market research firm Euromonitor was once known for its annual list of the top 100 city destinations which, until Covid turned everything upside down in 2020, ranked the top destinations by number of international arrivals.
The company then replaced it with its new Top 100 City Destinations Index, which compares the attractiveness of 100 cities around the world using six performance pillars, with the latest report based on data collected in 2021.
In 2019, the top spots on the list were dominated by Asian destinations, with Hong Kong and Bangkok topping the list, but in 2021 the list now has eight European cities in the top 10.
Like the pre-pandemic list, the 2021 index is a snapshot in time. Last year saw cities rebound after the global crisis, with some opening up to the world faster than others. Next year’s roster will no doubt be different again, in the rapid panorama of the covid-19 recovery.
Here are the first pandemic-era tourism heroes:
Paris dominates the world
Paris has been named the world’s most attractive urban destination for 2021. Globally, it ranks first in the “tourism performance” category and second in the “tourism policy and infrastructure” category.
The city has benefited from the return of American and Asian tourists, according to Euromonitor, although it has not yet been boosted by visitors from the UK, once a big market. That could change now, as the UK joined France’s “green list” on March 31, 2022.
However, it ranks low in health and safety, which the report says is due to it having “strengthened efforts to increase vaccination rates in a vaccine-averse population.”
France has been one of the European countries most affected by covid-19, and until the beginning of this month it had almost 27 million cases in total.
Ranked #1 in the 2020 index, Dubai is second in Euromonitor’s list for 2021 and is the only emerging market city in the top 10.
The United Arab Emirates favorite showed up to reopen to international tourists in July 2020 and last year got a boost from the covid-19 postponed Expo2020 which started in October 2021.
Dubai ranks fourth in the world in the health and safety performance category, thanks to the strict covid protocol put in place by the government of Dubai.
Until April 2022, more than 98% of the population of Dubai is vaccinated and wearing a mask remains compulsory in closed public spaces.
“Livable and inclusive”
Amsterdam, a small city with a historically large tourist population, so much so that it has become the face of overtourism, ranks third in 2021.
Dutch capital tackles overtourism with technology: Euromonitor praises its crowd control project Public Eye, which uses artificial intelligence technology to help navigate large flows of people and reduce crowds .
The report also notes that Amsterdam, along with Barcelona and Oslo, have “taken steps to reduce parking spaces” as well as introducing “extensive cycling infrastructure to revolutionize its transport networks and create a more livable and inclusive place”. .
Population growth, improving unemployment rates and rising disposable income have helped it perform well in terms of economic and business performance, according to Euromonitor, which ranks sixth in this performance category globally. .
Long live Spain
Madrid ranks fourth overall and world number 1 in the “sustainability” performance category.
It is also the third world city in “politics and tourist attraction”.
Thanks to Spain’s easing of entry requirements in several markets, Barcelona have also moved up six places in the rankings to reach 10th place in 2021.
New York was the highest ranked American city, ranked 7th in the world. Their success was driven by domestic tourism, while Orlando (#22) and Las Vegas (#28) also improved their rankings.
Singapore ranked first in the “business and economic performance” category, although the city-state only ranked 24th in the overall index.
Asian cities stood out in this category, with Taipei and Hong Kong also leading in 2021 in terms of economic recovery, and Macau jumping 18 places to seventh in the world.
Euromonitor also noted the impact of Singapore’s high vaccination levels and “living with covid” policy, unlike the “zero covid” approach of other Asia-Pacific destinations.
Dublin ranks first for politics and tourist attraction, and 16th in the overall index.
Euromonitor attributes this to the fact that the Irish capital, like France, is open to American travelers from mid-2021, unlike its British neighbors. London fell three places overall in 2021, to eighth.
However, London has gained in tourist infrastructure. The report highlights the capital’s comprehensive public transport system, its six commercial airports and underlines that it “enjoys a solid position in terms of culture and leisure, as well as in terms of educational provision”. .
Euromonitor index of the 20 best destination cities 2021
- New York
- Frankfurt am Main