Asian cities become smarter in advance of even more visitors

Asian cities become smarter in advance of even more visitors

Asia is embracing the concept of smart cities, using technology and data to balance continued arrivals growth with sustainable expansion, reveals The Top 100 City Destination Ranking WTM London 2017 Edition.

The report by Euromonitor International, quoting Nesta says: “Successful smart cities of the future will combine the best aspects of technology infrastructure while making the most of the growing potential of ‘collaborative technologies’, and above all the citizens who power them.”

The report identifies Hong Kong as the world’s most visited city in the world. In 2017, it expects the city to welcome 25.7 million visitors, a slight drop on 2016 but still the global number one. The study predicts Hong Kong will retain its position in the medium term, with more than 31 million arrivals expected in 2020 and some 44 million in 2025.

Authorities in the city were one of the earliest to think of city development in smart terms when it launched the world’s first contactless public transport payment scheme twenty years ago. The Octopus Card has developed over the years and today allows pre-payment which can be used on Hong Kong’ public transport network and some 20,000 outlets including shops, bars, restaurants and vending machines.

In 2016 more than 14 million transactions took place on an average day. Contactless payment for public transport is now commonplace, but across Asia there is a drive towards cashless cities

A truly “smarter” society and economy will be based around digital payment facilities, the report says. Cities are set to benefit as governments and the private sector both identify and satisfy the inhabitants and visitors’ demands for a cashless experience. According to the report, some cities in China are now almost cashless thanks to widespread adoption of digital wallet products from WeChat Pay and AliPay.

Elsewhere, PayTM, India’s leading mobile payment app, has paved the way for banked and unbanked citizens to buy a range of products and services without cash. It has identified travel and leisure – hotels, movie tickets, restaurants and rail tickets – as target segments. The wallet is opening up ecommerce to inhabitants in India’s second and third tier cities and in rural areas.

Singapore is a city which the World Economic Forum ranked top for “technological readiness” in 2016. It is also one of the world’s most visited cities, coming fourth in Top 100 City Destination Ranking WTM London 2017 Edition with 16.6 million international visits in 2016. However, its growth trajectory over the next few years is sharper than most – Euromonitor predicts the city will welcome 21 million in 2020 and 30 million in 2025 when it will take third position on the list.

Like Hong Kong, Singapore recognised the need for the city to become smart early on, and has been working with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) since 2007 on issues such as mobility, health and the environment. The tie-up is now part of the government’s Smart Nation programme, launched in 2014 “to create a conducive environment so people and companies can take full advantage of the digital revolution to co-create innovative solutions that will enhance the lives of our citizens.”

Euromonitor International, Senior Travel Analyst, Wouter Geerts, said: “Singapore is a vibrant destination which is using smart city thinking to not only make sure its inhabitants’ lives are improved by technology while sharing these innovations with business and leisure visitors alike.”

WTM London, Senior Director, Simon Press, said: “There is a lot of talk in travel at the moment about how to balance the needs of visitors with the needs of inhabitants. Smart cities know that this is a tension that will not go away, and it’s a positive sign that many cities in Asia are using technology to help maintain the balance.


About World Travel Market

World Travel Market (WTM) portfolio comprises five leading B2B events across four continents generating more than $7bn of industry deals. The events are;


WTM London, the leading global event for the travel industry, is the must-attend three-day exhibition for the worldwide travel and tourism industry. Around 51,500 senior travel industry professionals, government ministers and international media visit ExCeL – London every November generating around £2.8 billion of travel industry contracts. Next event: 6-8 Nov 2017 – London.


International Golf Travel Market (IGTM) now in its 20th edition, is the meeting place for the global B2B golf travel community. More than 600 golf tourism suppliers join 350 pre-qualified buyers and 100 international press for four days of unmissable pre-scheduled appointments, exclusive networking opportunities and invaluable industry and trend updates. Taking place in a different destination every year, IGTM brings together 1,400 golf tourism professionals from over 65 countries. Next event: 11-14 Dec 2017 – Cannes.


WTM Latin America now in its fifth edition attracts about 9,000 unique senior executives. The event generates US$ 370 million of new business. Taking place in Sao Paulo Brazil, this show attracts a global audience to meet and shape the direction of the travel industry. More than 7,000 unique visitors attend the event to network, negotiate and discover the latest industry news. Next event: 3-5 April 2018 – Sao Paulo.


WTM Africa launched in 2014 in Cape Town, South Africa. Nearly 5,000 travel industry professionals attend Africa’s leading inbound and outbound travel and tourism market. WTM Africa delivers a proven mix of hosted buyers, media, pre-scheduled appointments, on-site networking, evening functions and invited travel trade visitors. Next event: 18-20 April 2018 – Cape Town.


Arabian Travel Market (ATM) is the leading, international travel and tourism event in the Middle East for inbound and outbound tourism professionals. ATM 2017 attracted almost 40,000 industry professionals, agreeing deals worth US$2.5bn over the four days. The 24th edition of ATM showcased over 2,500 exhibiting companies across 12 halls at Dubai World Trade Centre, making it the largest ATM in its 24-year history. Next event 22-25 April 2018 – Dubai.


About Reed Exhibitions

Reed Exhibitions is the world’s leading events business, enhancing the power of face to face through data and digital tools at over 500 events a year, in more than 30 countries, attracting more than 7m participants.


About Reed Travel Exhibitions

Reed Travel Exhibitions is the world’s leading travel and tourism event’s organiser with a growing portfolio of more than 22 international travel and tourism trade events in Europe, the Americas, Asia, the Middle East and Africa. Our events are market leaders in their sectors, whether it is global and regional leisure travel trade events, or specialist events for meetings, incentives, conference, events (MICE) industry, business travel, luxury travel, travel technology as well as golf, spa and ski travel. We have over 35 years’ experience in organising world-leading travel exhibitions.


About Euromonitor International

Euromonitor International is the world’s leading provider for global business intelligence and strategic market analysis. We have more than 40 years of experience publishing international market reports, business reference books and online databases on consumer markets.



About the Top 100 City Destinations Ranking

For the first time ever, Euromonitor International’s highly anticipated will be presented at the World Travel Market event in London on November 7, 2017. This year’s report incorporates WTM Global Travel Trends to give further insight on how city destinations are at the forefront of tourism growth and innovation and how travel trends are borne out of the opportunities and challenges that cities face.



More information, please contact:

Paul Nelson – WTM Portfolio PR Manager


T: +44 (0)20 8910 7032/ M: +44 (0)79 1955 5510

Natalia Hartmann – WTM Portfolio PR Executive


T: +44 (0)20 8439 5535/ M: +44 (0)74 0336 7331

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World Travel Market brings the travel industry together through world leading events, content and digital tools, that make it easier for you to find personal and business opportunities and do more effective business.

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