Riyadh and Jeddah debut with promising city brand assets in Saffron's City Brand Barometer 2022
Posted on 2022 Nov,28

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Saffron Brand Consultants has launched the City Tourism Brand Barometer 2022, a proprietary biannual study 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.

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.

  1. Tokyo
  2. London
  3. Paris
  4. New York City
  5. Barcelona
  6. Dubai 
  7. Singapore
  8. Amsterdam
  9. Madrid
  10. Rome


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 Saffron believes will be making upward moves in the 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



City Brand Barometer methodology:

What is CBB?

Saffron created the City Brand Barometer in 2008 to explore which cities worldwide have built the strongest brands. This year, they evaluated 104 cities from an international tourism perspective. Which cities are doing this most successfully? Who has the best reputation? Which global cities are underperforming, and who are the tourism leaders of tomorrow?

The approach
Saffron looked at two important variables: assets and buzz.

1. The strengths of a city.
Assets are factors that are important to global travellers such as weather, cost, and the number of attractions. They also analysed aggregate data that indicate the overall infrastructure and development needed for a large influx of visitors such as travel infrastructure, crime, healthcare, and hygiene.

2. The reputation of a city.
Buzz constitutes the degree to which a city is known and positively perceived by the outside world. These values were established through a Saffron survey of over 1500 people from 10 different countries. The survey looked at the perception and reputation of the 104 cities on our list to see which were highly considered, which had top-of-mind awareness, and which were seen as being impacted by over-tourism. Alongside this survey, they also incorporated other indicators to evaluate the quantity and sentiment of the conversation surrounding each city.