Tokyo, Singapore shine as Asia’s top ‘bleisure’ cities: report

Tokyo was voted Asia’s top ‘bleisure’ destination, according to a report by Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) called “The 2019 bleisure barometer”. (recep-bg/Getty Images)
Tokyo was voted Asia’s top ‘bleisure’ destination, according to a report by Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) called “The 2019 bleisure barometer”. (recep-bg/Getty Images)

Tokyo has been the named the top Asian city for offering the ultimate combination of business and leisure, or "bleisure", appeal for travellers, according to a new report.

Singapore ranks second out of 26 cities, with Sydney and Hong Kong coming in a joint third, and Melbourne rounding out the top five. 

In the next tier are Shanghai and Beijing, which have been catching up, boosted by China's rapid infrastructure development. The cities were ranked highly for their business aspects despite being often criticised for their poor urban environments, as part of a new report from the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) called "The 2019 bleisure barometer".

The report, which examines the rising trend of combining business travel with leisure time, was based on a survey of 1,500 business travellers around the world. 

Cities on the report were ranked a score out of five across 10 indicators such as ease of transport in the city, level of digital connectivity, quality of international and regional links, food and beverage, cultural experiences, availability for consumer goods and services, as well as safety. 

Tokyo earned top scores in three categories, from quality of international links, availability of consumer goods and services and opportunity for cultural experiences. 

Singapore scored highly, topping aspect such as transportation, food and beverage, and overall business aspects.

While Hong Kong did well across the board, it only achieved the number one spot in one indicator: digital connectivity. 

"Hong Kong suffers its poorest showing in ease of transport, ranking eighth, and ranks sixth for safety," says Michael Gold, EIU senior editor and writer of the report. "Hardly dismal showings, but perhaps two areas that officials can focus on in helping facilitate bleisure for future travellers."

Australian cities like Melbourne and Sydney that travellers reported the best combination between business and leisure experiences.

But there were also major variances across cities. Singapore and Sydney were ranked below average for cultural experiences, while Hanoi, ranked low overall. 

Cities that topped the culture category were New Delhi, Tokyo, Beijing and Hong Kong. Brisbane ranked last on culture, just below Shenzhen.

Not surprisingly, less-affluent cities account for most of the one-star destinations, which comprised Bangkok in 19th position, Adelaide, Shenzhen, Jakarta, Ho Chi Minh City, Colombo, Hanoi, and Manila in last place.

Bleisure travel is on the rise. A 2018 survey found that 60% of business trips among US-based executives incorporated a leisure element, up from 43% in 2016.

Here are Asia's top cities for bleisure travel:
1. Tokyo 
2. Singapore
3. Hong Kong
3. Sydney
5. Melbourne
5. Shanghai
7. Beijing
8. Osaka
9. Perth
10. Seoul

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