This Iconic European Capital Is Now the World's Most Powerful City

Paris ranked number one on the World Travel & Tourism Council's annual rankings


Todd Korol

The City of Light now glows even brighter, officially named the world's most powerful city by a new report.

New data from the World Travel & Tourism Council, which represents the global travel and tourism private sector, ranked Paris number one on its annual rankings of the world's top cities based on their contribution to the worldwide economy.

According to the WTTC, travel and tourism contributed nearly $36 billion to France's GDP in 2022, accounting for 3.5 percent of the city's economy that year. This impressive figure, along with Paris's rich cultural heritage and iconic landmarks, solidified the city's spot at the top of the list.

However, Paris won't hold the top spot forever, according to the WTTC. Over the next 10 years, the forum predicts it will drop to third place, ultimately being leapfrogged by this year's second-place contender, Beijing. The Chinese capital saw travel and tourism contribute $34 billion to its GDP last year, estimated to reach an astounding $77 billion within the next decade.

"Major cities such as London, Paris, and New York will remain global powerhouses, but over the next few years, Beijing, Shanghai, and Macau will be moving up the list of top city destinations," said Julia Simpson, the WTTC's president and CEO. "Tourists will always have favorite cities that they will return to, but as other countries prioritize travel and tourism, we are going to see new and emerging destinations challenging the traditional favorites."

Orlando, Florida, known for its theme parks and family-friendly attractions—and, unfortunately, home to the country's worst airport—took the third spot on the list, making it the highest-ranked American city. The city's tourism industry contributed $32 billion to the country's GDP in 2022.

Paris's success as a top tourist destination can be attributed to several factors: the city's iconic landmarks, such as the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame Cathedral, continue to draw millions of visitors each year, while its reputation as a cultural and culinary capital is also a significant factor in its popularity as a tourist destination.

Of course, the city's museums and art galleries, such as the Louvre and the Musée d'Orsay, draw countless visitors each year, while Paris's food scene is also celebrated. Still, the city's government has also made significant investments in tourism infrastructure in recent years, working to improve public transportation and make the visitor experience more accessible and inclusive.

The WTTC's rankings demonstrate the significant impact of travel and tourism on the global economy. These industries support millions of jobs and provide vital economic stimulus in cities worldwide. Paris's position as the world's most powerful city is a testament to its unique appeal and the strength of its tourism industry.

As the world continues to recover from the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the tourism industry will play a crucial role in driving economic growth, while the WTTC's rankings serve as a reminder of the importance of tourism and the opportunities it presents for cities worldwide.