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Hong Kong slid eight spots in world's top tourist destinations ranking – Hong Kong Standard

Hong Kong's stringent "Covid-zero" approach has made the city slide eight spots to 49th in a global ranking of the world's top 100 tourist destinations.
But that is not only the case for the SAR, as Asian cities, which have generally taken stricter anti-epidemic measures and border control, were nowhere to be seen in the top 10 of the Top 100 City Destinations Index published by Euromonitor International — a global market research company based in London. Paris and other European cities dominate the ranking.
Euromonitor International did not provide any reasons behind why they still included Asian cities in its annual ranking, given that many Asian cities have been imposing stringent travel measures against the ongoing pandemic, including banning foreign tourists from entering their countries.
But the research company said its index was to support businesses operating within the whole travel and tourism ecosystem, as well as to offer insights for any non-travel operators with an interest in understanding city performances and dynamics within industries.
Euromonitor International said its Top 100 City Destinations Index is to deliver a comprehensive and multi-layered analysis of key and emerging city hubs, which aims to help businesses, tourism organizations and destinations identify cities that are showing strong tourism growth potential, as well as uncovering areas of attention for tourism strategy developers.
The Top 100 City Destinations Index 2021 — released last Thursday (Dec 2) — researched over 110 cities across 86 markets, with the top 100 featuring in the final ranking. 
It compares 54 different metrics across six key pillars for an overall city attractiveness score. The pillars include economic and business performance, tourism performance, tourism infrastructure, tourism policy and attractiveness, health and safety, and sustainability. 
Hong Kong ranked 49th, falling eight spots from 2020. It placed 26th in 2019. 
While placing third in the economic and business performance sector — same as 2020’s index, the SAR only ranked 101th place in tourism performance.
Eight of the top 10 cities are European, the report said. “Surprisingly, Asia lacks any representation. Tokyo is the highest-ranking Asian city, ranked 15th," it wrote.
Paris placed first for tourism performance and second for tourism policy and attractiveness globally, reclaiming the crown it held in 2019 by topping this year’s index overall.
The capital of France opened its borders to international tourists in June this year and removed the requirement for PCR tests for vaccinated tourists from Europe.
“Performance was boosted by American and Asian tourists returning to Paris,” the report said. “However, the city still awaits the comeback of British tourists, one of its main source markets.” 
“The city is in the bottom quadrant in terms of health and safety, despite increased efforts to boost vaccination rates in a vaccine-hesitant population,” the report added.
The second place goes to Dubai, which has been open to international tourists since July last year (2020) and government efforts to mobilize and support the travel and tourism sector have been pivotal. 
Ranking highest in terms of health and safety among the top 10 cities in the index, Dubai is also the only city from an emerging country to feature in the top 10. 
“The vaccination process is easy, vaccination rates are high and stringent safety measures are in place for all public places and tourist spots. As a result, there is increasing visitor confidence among international and local tourists to the city,” the report said. 
Amsterdam ranked third overall, followed by Madrid, Rome and Berlin. New York, London, Munich and Barcelona are also among the top 10.
Tokyo ranked 15th in this year’s index, becoming the highest ranked Asian city, despite slipping six places compared to last year’s index.
The report said the surge of the Delta variant and Tokyo’s decline in the sustainability ranking affected the city’s performance. 
While European cities dominated the overall index, Asian cities shined in terms of economic and business performance, with four cities in the top 10 for this pillar.
Singapore ranked first by that metric, followed by Taipei and then Hong Kong. 
Macau, placing 7th, made the biggest stride in 2021, increasing its rank by 18 places, thanks to its noticeable improvement in GDP growth on account of increased exports of gaming services and reduced unemployment rates.
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