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Second-Tier City Travel is on the Rise

by Susan Finch

Nov 27, 2019

Portland, Oregon, sits at fifth place, but it gained first for most beer gardens per capita, tying for the honor with New York City, Washington, D.C., Denver and Philadelphia. © Giovanni Gagliardi | Dreamstime.com

Trends / Top Trends

Domestic travel trends have gravitated toward second-tier cities for several years. Just a few years ago, the media was talking about Portland as a growing second-tier city for travelers, wooing tourists with its indie culture and microbrews. Today’s trend toward second-tier city travel extends to Asia as the new go-to places for tourists. China has specifically seen an increased interest in destinations like Shenzhen, Chengdu and Wuhan over traditional favorites like Shanghai, Guangzhou and Beijing. More intimate tourists cities in Asia like Oita, Daegu, Kumamoto, Ha Long and Icheon are also seeing increased growth.

The growing trend for second-tier cities points to another trend that has nothing to do with travel budgets. The quest for experiential travel and more immersive experiences lends itself to choosing smaller destinations that offer a more authentic tourist experience. Travelers can get away from the souvenir stands and bustle of the big city to find traditional food, art, performance and culture around every corner. However, despite the growing trend, there’s still some questions about how far second-tier city tourism can grow in Asia and other off-the-beaten-path destinations. Without the right infrastructure and strategy in place, growth may prove unsustainable for travelers after those slow, immersive experiences they crave.

 

 

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