Panoramic view of the Vltava river and Charles Bridge in Prague, Czech Republic

Prague drops out of top 20 most visited cities worldwide ranking

A ranking by Euromonitor shows that Prague's tourism growth has not kept pace with other top cities

Prague was the sixth most visited city in Europe, and 22nd most visited city in the world, according to a ranking by Euromonitor International. While arrivals to Prague increased, the city dropped in the both the European and international ranking by two spots, no longer making it into the top five in Europe or top 20 worldwide.

In 2018, Prague saw some 8.95 million arrivals of international tourists, up from 8.80 million in the previous ranking. The figure for 2019 is estimated to hit 9.15 million.

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To be counted, people must visit for at least 24 hours and staying in paid or unpaid, collective or private accommodation. Arrivals count all purposes of visit, such as business, leisure, ans visiting friends and relatives. People who visit multiple times are counted each time.

prague castle
Prague Castle and Charles Bridge. via Raymond Johnston

London had the most visitors in Europe, 19.23 million, and was in third place globally. In Europe, London was followed by Paris, Istanbul, Antalya, and Rome. Concerns over Brexit impacted London’s tourism growth, as it was down 3.0% compared to Paris’s 10.9% growth.

The world leader was Hong Kong, with 29.26 million visitors in 2018 — though is expected to drop 8.7% in the next ranking due to turmoil there.

Brexit is expected to impact on London again in the next ranking. The city is expected to lose its place among the top three cities, and be overtaken by Macau and Singapore. “Paris is expected to benefit from any shift of European visitors from the United Kingdom, for both business and leisure,” Euromonitor stated.

hong kong
Hong Kong. via iStock

“Europe is the second fastest growing regional destination after Asia and has the largest number of inbound arrivals globally. Intra-regional travel remains the largest source of tourism, with nearly 80% of the travelers from the region. This is due to a strong regulatory framework and travel policies favoring free travel within the European Union and the Schengen Area, comprising 26 European states,” Euromonitor said.

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European travel infrastructure is among the strongest globally, with 853 airports in the region. Extensive rail and road networks also help boost intra-regional tourism.

“While travel from within Europe remained steady, arrivals from Asian source markets such as China and Japan outpaced growth of visitors from within the region,” Eurostat added.

london
London. via Colin / Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 4.0

People reacting to overtourism in some European locations will also cause a shift in the future. “While traditional locations such as Milan, Berlin, and Vienna have declined in the ranking, due to lower appeal among visitors and shifts of visitors towards Egypt, Turkey and Asian destinations, upcoming destinations such as Croatia, Slovenia, and Sweden have moved up,” Euromonitor stated.

“They are proving popular as travelers seek newer, more localized experiences and less crowded locations. The popularity and increased number of low-cost carriers to these destinations has also favored growth of previously less-explored destinations,” Euromonitor added.

Most visited cities in 2018
1 Hong Kong
2 Bangkok, Thailand
3 London, UK
4 Macau
5 Singapore
6 Paris, France
7 Dubai, UAE
8 New York City US
9 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
10 Istanbul, Turkey
11 Delhi, India
12 Antalya, Turkey
13 Shenzhen, China
14 Mumbai India
15 Phuket, Thailand
16 Rome, Italy
17 Tokyo, Japan
18 Pattaya Thailand
19 Taipei, Taiwan,
20 Mecca, Saudi Arabia
21 Guangzhou, China
22 Prague, Czech Republic
23 Medina, Saudi Arabia
24 Seoul, South Korea
25 Amsterdam, Netherlands
Source: Euromonitor

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