What links Heraklion, Denpasar and Delhi?
“Heraklion is the first place most visitors encounter on arrival by plane or ferry, and a dusty, rowdy, honking, disorganised mess it can seem,” wrote Christopher Somerville after a visit for Telegraph Travel. “However, it still has the atmosphere of an ancient Mediterranean city with a long, densely tangled history, a richly rewarding place for a day-long exploration on foot.”
Heraklion Archaeological Museum is the world’s greatest showcase of Minoan artefacts, even more so in the wake of an eight-year refit.
Meanwhile, Artvin in Turkey is firmly off the radar of British holidaymakers, but Euromonitor says that it is a popular destination with Georgians.
Globally, Denpasar, the capital of the Indonesian island of Bali, saw the largest increase in arrivals, with more than 50 per cent more visitors this year than last. Jakarta, the Indonesian capital, grew just less than 50 per cent, while arrivals to Delhi, India, rose by more than a third.
The report, released at the World Travel Market in London, ranked the world’s 100 top cities in terms of international arrivals, as well as charting their potential for growth.
The research illustrates the growing dominance of Asian destinations, with six cities in the top 10. Despite a dip in arrivals of 3.2 per cent, Hong Kong still ranked first, with 25.7 million visitors. By 2025, Euromonitor estimated that the city will receive 44.1 million annual arrivals – just less than the population of Argentina.
In 2010, 34 of the top 100 cities were Asian. This number rose to 41 this year and will be 47 by 2025. “Asia Pacific is the standout region that has driven change in the travel landscape over the past decade,” said the report. “The impact of inter-Asian travel, predominantly from China in particular, cannot be underestimated.” Delhi welcomed more than a third more visitors this year, compared with the same period in 2016
This growth is best illustrated by the predicted Asian dominance of the world’s most visited cities for 2025, with all the top five spots assumed by destinations in the region, and London and Paris forced out. Seoul, South Korea’s capital, is one city in Asia anticipating a slower rate of growth. Arrivals have fallen 15 per cent since last year, the result of political tension in the region.
The report showed Europe’s tourism industry has been shaken by the terror threat, but visitors had not been fully deterred. “Despite terrorist attacks, the top 10 European cities remain largely unchanged,” it said, “although Paris has dropped down the ranking following the two high-profile attacks in 2015.
“Arrivals in Istanbul and Antalya have also fallen considerably. The country has been in turmoil with the ongoing war in neighbouring Syria, terrorist attacks by the so-called Islamic State and the Kurdish PKK and the failed coup in July 2016.
“A familiar picture is forming, where the substitution effect means that cities in relatively quiet and stable countries are profiting from unrest in other countries.”
In the Americas, Euromonitor revealed that Cancun in Mexico enjoyed the highest rate of growth. It sits in fifth among the most visited cities in the region; New York is top, followed by Miami, Las Vegas and Los Angeles.