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World's most popular travel destinations of 2018

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Jerusalem will drive the expansion, with growth set to accelerate 38% to 4.8 million arrivals by the end of the year, after a 32% jump in 2017.

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JERUSALEM IS poised to lead growth in inbound arrivals, making the Israeli city one of the world's most popular travel destinations in a year in which Japan and India continued to lure visitors, Euromonitor International said.

Worldwide, inbound arrivals will probably increase 5 per cent to reach 1.4 billion trips in 2018, according to the London-based market research company's Top 100 City Destinations report, released on Tuesday.

Jerusalem will drive the expansion, with growth set to accelerate 38 per cent to 4.8 million arrivals by the end of the year, after a 32 per cent jump in 2017. The holy city is benefiting from "relative stability and a strong marketing push", the report said.

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Arrivals to this year's top-100 city destinations are poised to increase by 7.5 per cent overall, with city hubs extending their importance for the global travel industry, said Wouter Geerts, a travel research consultant with Euromonitor. Asia continues to rise in the rankings, accounting for 41 out of this year's top 100 cities.

The Middle East and Africa will probably benefit least, with cities such as Jerba and Sousse in Tunisia, and Sharm el Sheikh in Egypt, dropping out of the rankings "mainly due to terrorist attacks and subsequent slumping demand", Mr Geerts said, adding that Cairo is defying the trend with a resurgence in arrivals.

Japan and India stand out for their strong growth in inbound city arrivals. Cities such as Osaka and Chiba have shown average annual growth of 43 per cent and 35 per cent respectively from 2012 to 2017, while Delhi and Mumbai have averaged more than 20 per cent annual growth.

Porto, named Europe's leading destination at the 2018 World Travel Awards, is another city to watch, according to Euromonitor. The Portuguese city is predicted to benefit from a 7 per cent increase in arrivals in 2018, and has advanced 42 slots in the rankings since 2012 to reach the top 100 this year.

Hong Kong leads the list of cities with the most arrivals. It's forecast to receive 29.8 million people in 2018, 7 per cent more last year. Bangkok, London, Singapore, Macau, Paris, Dubai, New York, Kuala Lumpur and Shenzhen, China, round out the 10-most popular destinations, according to Euromonitor. BLOOMBERG