Home » Africa: Cairo, Egypt and Nairobi, Kenya Make the List of Top 40 most visited Global Cities with Millions of Tourists in 2023, a global Recovery of 66% of Pre-Pandemic Levels

Africa: Cairo, Egypt and Nairobi, Kenya Make the List of Top 40 most visited Global Cities with Millions of Tourists in 2023, a global Recovery of 66% of Pre-Pandemic Levels

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most visited Global Cities

In this comprehensive article, we’ll provide an in-depth analysis of the 40 most visited cities worldwide in 2023. Join us as we delve into the bustling urban landscapes, exploring the fascinating data on tourist numbers for each of these vibrant destinations, uncovering what makes them the top choices for global travelers this year.

According to insidermonkey.com, the global tourism industry, which accounted for an estimated 10% of global GDP pre-pandemic, has shown a significant rebound in the first half of 2023, with international arrivals in the APAC region reaching 80% of pre-pandemic levels. This is partly due to a progressive reopening of international borders in 2022, which resulted in over 960 million tourists traveling internationally last year, recovering two-thirds (66%) of pre-pandemic levels. The first three months of 2023 saw an estimated 235 million international tourist arrivals, more than double the same period in 2022.

READ: Africa: The Middle East Region Emerges as the Global Tourism Leader, exceeds others by 20%, as Africa comes second with 92%

The Middle East led the global tourism in 2023, with arrivals at 83% of pre-pandemic levels. Europe also rebounded strongly, welcoming 585 million visitors, or nearly 80% of its 2019 numbers. Africa and the Americas recovered about 65% of their pre-pandemic tourist arrivals, while Asia and the Pacific lagged at 23% due to strict pandemic-related restrictions.

Booking Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ:BKNG) is one of the largest online travel agencies with a market cap of $109.3 billion. Booking Holdings Inc.’s (NASDAQ:BKNG) Travel Predictions revealed that in 2023, nearly nine in ten travelers would be interested in a nostalgic getaway, with 23% wanting to escape to simpler times. Theme parks are a top choice for thoughtful travelers, with 61% planning to visit one in 2023. This is likely because theme parks offer a fun and carefree experience that can transport visitors back to their childhood.

Furthermore, Booking Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ:BKNG) reported that multi-generational family reunions are also expected to be popular in 2023, with 54% of travelers planning to take one. Theme parks are ideal for family reunions, as they offer something for everyone of all ages.

READ: News: World Travel & Tourism Council names Paris As the Most Powerful City Destination in the World with $36bn tourism GDP

Tourism Trends in China in 2023
China’s tourism sector was poised for a strong comeback in 2023 despite the significant impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Domestic tourism revenue is projected to exceed RMB 4 trillion (approximately US$580.96 billion), a 96% increase from 2022. Both outbound and inbound tourism markets have shown impressive vitality in the first half of 2023, surpassing 2019 levels. Average expenditures for outbound travelers have increased significantly, with Hong Kong and Macao leading the resurgence. The total number of inbound and outbound individuals has surged by 170%.

According to Forbes, just a few years ago, the United States saw an influx of approximately 3 million Chinese tourists annually, making a significant contribution of over $30 billion to the US economy. Back in 2019, even though Chinese visitors represented just 4% of all foreign travelers coming to the US, they made up a striking 13% of the total spending. However, in the current year of 2023, the landscape has changed considerably, with projections indicating that the number of Chinese tourists visiting the US is expected to drop to fewer than 850,000. China lifts group travel restrictions to the US. Lifting travel restrictions is a positive development for the US tourism industry, which has been struggling to recover from the pandemic. If Chinese tourist arrivals can return to pre-pandemic levels, it would significantly boost the US economy.

We scoured the internet to find out the most popular travel destinations. Some sources we consulted include Master Card’s Travel Industry Trends 2023 report and datasets from Brilliant Maps. The list is ranked in ascending order of the number of tourists in the cities.

Most Visited Cities in the World in 2023
40. Nairobi

Country: Kenya

Number of Tourists (Millions): 3.4

The United States remained the leading source market for Kenya’s tourism sector growth in the first six months of 2023, followed by Uganda at 89,968 (10.6%), Tanzania at 69,777 (8.2%), and the United Kingdom at 65,563 (7.7%).

39. Cairo
Country: Egypt

Number of Tourists (Millions): 3.5

Tourism revenues in Egypt soared to a record US$4.1 billion, a 43.5% increase from US$2.8 billion, driven by a 47.1% rise in tourist nights (43.6 million) and a 52.2% increase in tourist arrivals (3.4 million).

38. Chennai
Country India

Number of Tourists (Millions): 3.5

Travel and tourism are two of India’s largest industries, contributing $178 billion to the country’s GDP. The government has allocated US$2.1 billion to the Ministry of Tourism in the 2023-24 budget.

37. Warsaw
Country: Poland

Number of Tourists (Millions): 3.7

36. Tokyo
Country: Japan

Number of Tourists (Millions): 3.7

In 2022, tourism in Japan, experienced a notable increase in employment, with the total number of jobs nationwide reaching nearly 5.1 million, representing one in every 13 jobs in Japan. Last year, the sector’s GDP contributed 50.5% to $257 billion, representing 6.2% of the economy.

35. Berlin
Country: Germany

Number of Tourists (Millions): 3.8

After pandemic-related restrictions in previous years, tourism in Berlin recovered significantly in 2022. The city welcomed 10.4 million guests, twice as many as in 2021, and recorded 26.5 million overnight stays, a 90% increase over the previous year.

34. Lima
Country: Peru

Number of Tourists (Millions):3.8

The Peruvian travel and tourism revenue is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.26% between 2023 and 2027, reaching $2.26 billion by 2027.

33. Ho Chi Minh City
Country: Vietnam

Number of Tourists (Millions): 3.9

Ho Chi Minh City emerged as a bright spot in Vietnam’s tourism industry in the first half of 2023, with total tourism revenue reaching nearly 81 trillion VND, a 62.7% increase year-over-year and a 121% increase compared to 2019.

32. Orlando
Country: USA

Number of Tourists (Millions): 4.1

Orlando’s travel and tourism industry generated a total economic impact of $87.6 billion in 2022, a 31% increase over the previous year, thanks to 74 million visitors.

31. Madrid
Country: Spain

Number of Tourists (Millions): 4.1

In 2022, meeting tourism in Madrid generated a direct economic impact of €1.715 billion, representing 87% of pre-pandemic levels and positioning it as a critical driver of tourism growth in the city.

30. Sofia
Country: Bulgaria

Number of Tourists (Millions): 4.1

Sofia, Bulgaria’s capital, welcomed over 900,000 tourists in 2022, a 57% increase from 2021. The top five source markets for Sofia tourism in 2022 were Israel, Germany, Italy, Romania, and Turkey.

29. Amsterdam
Country: Netherlands

Number of Tourists (Millions):4.3

Amsterdam is grappling with over-tourism, welcoming over 22 million visitors in 2019 and expecting up to 18 million in 2023.

28. Vienna
Country: Austria

Number of Tourists (Millions): 4.3

Vienna tourism rebounded in 2022, with more guests, overnight stays, and sales than in 2021. However, it remained below pre-pandemic levels, with arrivals at 71% of the 2019 figure (5.6 million) and net overnight revenues from January to November 2022 at 84% of the 2019 level (€759 million).

27. Budapest
Country: Hungary

Number of Tourists (Millions): 4.8

Hungary’s tourism industry is expected to decline over the next five years, with arrivals and receipts forecast to fall slightly. This would continue a long-term trend of decline, with arrivals down 5.4% and receipts down 9.4% since 2000.

26. Los Angeles
Country: USA

Number of Tourists (Millions): 5

Los Angeles tourism rebounded in 2022, with 46.2 million visitors, 91.1% of pre-pandemic levels. In 2023, the city expects nearly 50 million visitors, reaching 98% of 2019 levels.

25. Beijing
Country: China

Number of Tourists (Millions): 5

Beijing is on track to overtake Paris as the World’s most extensive travel and tourism city destination by 2030, according to the World Travel & Tourism Council. In 2019, there were 1.35 million people employed by the travel and tourism sector in Beijing, but this figure dropped to 1.16 million (-15%) in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

24. Moscow
Country: Russia

Number of Tourists (Millions): 5

With its vibrant academic and technological landscape, Moscow is poised to attract professionals, researchers, and enthusiasts from around the globe. The 14th five-year plan and the program of the country’s long-term development goals until 2035 emphasize the growth of tourism based on the diversification of types, patterns, and formats of consumption and the strengthening of supply chains.

23. Barcelona
Country: Spain

Number of Tourists (Millions): 5.5

Despite seasonal trends, tourism activity in Barcelona in January 2023 approached pre-pandemic levels. Tourist accommodation establishments decreased by 6.9%, but bed places remained virtually stable, with an average of 130,000 available, 4.0% more than in January 2019.

22. Miami
Country: USA

Number of Tourists (Millions): 6

The tourism industry in Miami sustained its recovery in 2022, with record room bookings and Miami International Airport serving over 50.6 million travelers, welcoming new carriers like Southwest, JetBlue, and Spirit.

21. Las Vegas
Country: USA

Number of Tourists (Millions): 6.3

Southern Nevada’s tourism industry experienced a strong recovery in 2022; visitor volume in Las Vegas reached 40.4 million in March 2023, 13.6% higher than in March 2022 and within 5.6% of the pre-pandemic high in February 2020.

20. Shanghai
Country: China

Number of Tourists (Millions): 6.5

International tourist arrivals in Shanghai totaled just over 910,000 from January to May 2023, with almost half coming from Hong Kong, Macau, or Taiwan.

19. Prague
Country: Czech Republic

Number of Tourists (Millions): 6.5

Prague Airport’s passenger forecast for 2023 has been revised upwards from 12.7 million to 13.6 million, reflecting strong travel demand and the gradual recovery of the aviation industry.

18. Taipei City
Country: Taiwan

Number of Tourists (Millions): 6.6

Taipei expects inbound tourist numbers to recover to 50% of pre-pandemic levels in 2023 as the tourism market gradually reopens following the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions in mid-October 2022.

17. Pattaya
Country: Thailand

Number of Tourists (Millions): 6.6

Thailand expects to welcome 18-25 million tourists in 2023, perhaps even beating its record of 40 million in 2019. Pattaya is expected to get a third of the total, thanks to the expansion of U-tapao airport.

16. Mecca
Country: Saudi Arabia

Number of Tourists (Millions): 6.9

Mecca, Saudi Arabia, is rapidly transforming to accommodate a growing number of religious tourists. An ambitious plan aims to attract more than 30 million visitors annually by 2030, generating up to USD 80 billion, or 10% of GDP, as the kingdom reduces its reliance on oil.

15. Phuket
Country: Thailand

Number of Tourists (Millions): 7.2

Phuket expects to generate more than 200-300 billion baht from tourism by the end of 2023, with more than 14 million tourists expected to visit, exceeding pre-pandemic levels.

14. Guangzhou
Country: China

Number of Tourists (Millions): 7.9

The travel and tourism sector’s contribution to GDP in Guangzhou in 2022 was approximately 7% lower than pre-pandemic levels. In Guangzhou, the industry contributed $13.2 billion in 2022, compared to $14.1 billion in 2019.

13. Dubai
Country: UAE

Number of Tourists (Millions): 8

Dubai has ranked number one among cities with the highest spending by international tourists, earning $29.4 billion in 2022. The Emirates overtook Doha and London, where tourists spent $16.8 billion and $16.1 billion, respectively.

12. Rome
Country: Italy

Number of Tourists (Millions): 8.7

Rome catered to 5,821,362 international tourist arrivals in 2022, an incredible 500% increase from 2021, according to World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) data. The easing of travel restrictions and the strong demand for international travel after the COVID-19 pandemic drove this rebound.

11. Istanbul
Country: Turkey

Number of Tourists (Millions): 8.8

Tourism revenues in Turkey averaged US$4.4 billion annually from 1990 to 2023, reaching an all-time high of US$17.8 billion in the third quarter of 2022 and a record low of US$294 million in the first quarter of 1990.

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