The Economist Intelligence Unit surveyed 1,500 travellers around the globe on their favourite Asia-Pacific cities for both work and play, and Tokyo emerged as the most popular choice.
The report highlighted that while the sheer scale of the metropolis—home to 13.6 million people—can be intimidating, it’s ‘urban precision’ makes it possible to sample many of the city’s diverse attractions without being overwhelmed.
Another reason cited is the city’s culinary portfolio of 230 Michelin-starred restaurants. According to the survey, a majority of respondents said that the most important factor when unwinding during a business trip was dining out, beating out other factors such as visiting local heritage sites or going to art museums and galleries. Tokyo’s other features include relaxing pockets of nature and parks in urban areas, a blend of classic and modern architecture, and the largest fish market in the world.
Joining Tokyo as ‘five-star’ cities for ‘bleisure’ are Singapore, Hong Kong, Sydney and Melbourne. In Singapore, predictably, travellers enjoy the ease of transportation, quality of food, and overall safety within the city. Hong Kong fared well for digital connectivity, quality of food, and availability of consumer goods and services.
A common thread found in the study was that the top ‘bleisure’ destinations were affluent cities. Less-affluent cities comprise most of the one-star destinations, with notable exceptions such as New Delhi and Hanoi.
The study also stressed that a top ‘bleisure’ destination contrasted with liveability as the two bring up different needs and factors. Although the specific questions used in the survey were inspired by The Economist’s Global Liveability Index, some differences emerge.
For example, wealthy cities such as Auckland, New Zealand, and Adelaide sit atop the league tables for liveability, but underperform on ‘bleisure’. Meanwhile, Shanghai and Beijing, while not considered liveable, show their rising business might in the bleisure study, filling the four-star tier.