How leading cities worldwide are driving interest to Cultural Attractions in 2022

International travel is set to make a comeback as global borders are now reopening but generating traveller interest is changing compared to pre-pandemic behaviour. Tourism to popular local cultural attractions is usually a priority, but with travellers leaning towards new experiences, how can leading cities continue to compete?

According to a recent Statista report Tokyo, Paris, London, New York, and Istanbul, were identified as those with the most cultural attractions in 2021. We take a look into how they retain their popularity levels and encourage tourists back. 

Leading cities worldwide with the most Cultural Attractions for 2021
But first, let’s take a look at how travellers are determine where to go and how they plan to get there.

How Travellers Research Attractions

In the wake of the pandemic, the digitalisation of online transactions in terms of tourism, mobile apps, and digital platforms have helped travellers learn about different activities before booking trips remotely.

How travellers research AttractionsA recent report by Arival shows that online searches have increased by 2% since 2018 and remain the top choice for traveller research. When we look at decision-making and planning ahead, 32% are booking attractions 3-7 days before they visit, which has doubled since 2019.

When Travellers plan their Attraction visits (2019 Vs. 2021)

Top Five Cities With The Most Cultural Attractions in 2021

1. Tokyo
Japan ranked 4th in the 2019 Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Report and its impressive preservation and promotion of its traditional culture have captivated visitors for decades.

Its capital city Tokyo tops our list with 8,805 cultural sites, and the 1,400-year-old Sensoji Temple is an excellent example of why it’s such a popular spot. Each spring, the annual festival is held alongside the Nakamise (shopping street) lined with souvenirs and street food to help make every visit unique.

2. Paris

Deemed as the City of Lights (and the City of Love), Paris has no shortage of picturesque and exciting locations, with the historic Eiffel Tower shining the brightest. Surprisingly, however, when it comes to leading cultural venues, the Louvre Museum has surpassed it in visitors for both 2019 and 2020

What makes it so popular? The attraction continues to reinvent itself with new exhibitions like the 2019 Leonardo exhibition and accompanying online podcast. As well as integrating technology into their offering with its first virtual reality experience “Mona Lisa Beyond the Glass”.

3. London

Home to many popular attractions, London comes in third with 3,704 on the list, but the most popular free attraction since 2019 has been the Tate Modern. Overtaking the British Museum as the London go-to gives it the edge of its ability to use scarcity.

It frequently changes displays and uses themes to make experiences unique throughout the year. For art and culture travellers; some exhibitions only leave a limited amount of time to see specific artworks before they are gone, which can drive the booking decision.

4. New York City

As the ‘City That Never Sleeps’, international travellers generate 50% of tourism spending for New York City (NYC), which is why it’s important to keep driving interest to cultural attractions. Times Square is one of the most popular, seeing nearly 360,000 pedestrians each day at pre-pandemic levels.

As the epicenter of the theatre scene, combined with its neon lights and billboards, it continues to be one of the most famous landmarks in NYC. Aside from having plenty to do and various plays and productions each season to keep things fresh, it’s also a favourite for hosting events such as the New Year’s Eve countdown, which is broadcasted worldwide.

5. Istanbul

With 1,984 cultural attractions, the capital of Turkey boasts an integration of many cultures in a strategic location between Asia and Europe. Seeing nearly 8 million foreign tourists in 2021, one of the most popular attractions remains the Hagia Sophia.

Steeped in history, it’s an architectural marvel created in 537 AD but has been rebuilt multiple times and now sits as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Other Ways Locations Are Making Attractions More Popular in 2022

Facilitating Advanced Bookings

Arival’s 2021 study sheds light on the downturn of last-minute booking, falling from 38% to 14% for ticket purchasers. This is partly due to the safety provisions and capacity controls needed by attractions during the pandemic. While we may see this level out as recovery continues and restrictions lift, this data shows that travellers are prepared to book in advance so attractions need to cater to this.

Ease of Purchase Trumps Price

Convenience plays a huge part in convincing travellers to visit locations with 38% of travellers choosing ease of purchase as a higher priority over price. This starts with a digital booking experience that can work seamlessly in person. There’s nothing worse than investing in digital ticketing options, and when travellers arrive, technical issues are hampering the experience.

Multi-Attraction Passes (MAPs) Are More Active

Research through attraction doubled to 16% since 2018 and made them 2-3 times more likely to book. Multi-attraction Pass holders are also the most likely to visit a range of activities and tours when in destination compared to all other travellers. In short, offering combined ticketing options will engage travellers to make the most out of their trips.

When it comes to the attractions space post-pandemic, it’s increasingly important to reinvent and create new unique experiences for travellers. Combined with flexibility and ease of use to balance traveller safety and concerns, this makes the perfect mix for driving more interest and bookings.