Which cities have the strongest brands to attract international tourism

Riyadh and Jeddah debut with promising city brand assets. Riyadh and Jeddah feature as first time entrants in Saffron’s City Brand Barometer 2022.

@Aman Tokyo

Abu Dhabi signals the rise of Middle Eastern city brands, leaping from a 2020 One to Watch to a Top 20 Challenger in Saffron’s first tourism ‘City Brand Barometer’ post-pandemic. Dubai remains strong in the Top 10.

City Tourism Brand Barometer 2022 is a proprietary biannual study by Saffron Brand Consultants (saffron-consultants.com/) that measures which cities from around the world have the strongest brands to attract international tourism.

After the Business edition in 2021, the 2022 City Brand Barometer analyses the highly competitive post-pandemic landscape, and 104 of the most relevant cities to the global tourism industry. To define the strength of each city’s ‘tourism brand’ Saffron assessed their ‘buzz,’ or the perception of each city, and combined it with their ‘assets’ such as weather, cost, number of attractions, overall infrastructure and development. Breakout lists highlighted include the Top Ten, the Challengers, the Underperformers and the Ones to Watch.

@Hyatt Regency Riyadh Olaya

In this latest report, Tokyo (#1) surpasses London (#2) and Paris (#3) for the first time to be ranked the strongest global tourism brand. Likewise, buzz-strong Abu Dhabi (#13) has solidified its assets score to ascend from a 2020 One to Watch to a Top 20 Challenger. Dubai maintains its position (#6) in the Top 10. Saudi Arabian cities Riyadh (#34) and Jeddah (#47) debut on the City Brand Barometer as Underperformers as with weak buzz but notably strong assets. The rise of each of these Middle Eastern city brands is explored in the report’s featured case studies.

Alfredo Fraile, Chief Business Development Officer at Saffron, commented: “This is the moment for both Riyadh and Jeddah to intentionally and authentically develop strong place brands that reflect what makes their cities unique. These cities, especially Riyadh, have evolved and become advanced cities to work and live. Their extensive and ever-growing offer reflects the transformation that the whole country is experiencing under Vision 2030. It’s time to build their city brands with purpose, shaping global public perception in a way that takes into account Riyadh and Jeddah’s rich histories. By doing so, they can play a key role in Saudi Arabia’s vision for the near future.”

The results:

The Top 10:
These cities represent the strongest tourism city brands globally.

New York City,

@Hyatt Regency Riyadh Olaya

The Challengers:
These are the cities with great tourism brands that look set to challenge the Top 10 in the near future.

11. Sydney,
12. Beijing,
13. Abu Dhabi,
14. San Francisco,
15. Kyoto,
16. Berlin,
17. Vienna,
18. Jaipur,
19. Osaka,
20. Bangkok.

The Underperformers:
These cities, including new entrants, are in the Top 20 globally for assets but have an average or low buzz score, signifying great potential for growth.

24. Fukuoka,
31. Moscow,
32. Brisbane,
34. Riyadh,
35. Seville,
37. Prague,
39. Antalya,
47. Jeddah,
48. Yokohama,
50. Chiang Mai.

The Ones to Watch:
These cities are the ones we believe will be making upward moves in our ranking in the near future due to the strength of their buzz.

21. Los Angeles,
22. Vancouver,
33. Miami,
36. Cape Town,
43. Atlanta,
44. Hong Kong,
51. Chicago,
56. Toronto,
59. Venice,
65. Las Vegas.

@Shangri-La Jeddah