Tourists loosen purse strings most in Dubai

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Tourists loosen purse strings most in Dubai
Dubai has been ranked the number one travel destination in the Middle East.

dubai - City retains position as the fourth most popular destination in the world for holiday-makers


Issac John

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Published: Wed 19 Oct 2016, 8:04 PM

Last updated: Wed 19 Oct 2016, 10:07 PM

Dubai and Abu Dhabi have grabbed international limelight as among top-spot travel destinations and the fastest-growing cities in the world respectively.

Dubai, ranked the number one travel destination in the Middle East, also retains its position as the fourth most popular destination in the world for holiday-makers, while Abu Dhabi - with a growth rate of 19.81 per cent - is the fastest-growing city in the Middle East and Africa and the third fastest growing city worldwide.

These accolades reaffirm the UAE as the most visited and fastest growing country in the region for the second year in a row, according to the eighth annual Mastercard Global Destinations Cities Index.

Bangkok topped this year's list of the world's most popular travel destinations, pushing London to second spot, with Paris and New York rounding off the top five.

The index provides more than a ranking of the 132 most visited cities around the world. It projects visitor volume and spend estimates for the 2016 calendar year, while delivering a deeper understanding of how people travel and spend around the world.

The biggest surprise in this year's index is Dubai's jump to the top rank based on international visitor spending of $31.3 billion, far exceeding the second-ranked London, estimated at $19.8 billion.

"The findings of the index show that Dubai is firmly entrenched at the high table of global tourism and travel," said Eyad Al Kourdi, senior vice-president and general manager, UAE, Mastercard.

"Tourism remains the heartbeat of Dubai's economy and the steady rise in visitor numbers indicates how the emirate's fascinating mix of iconic attractions is proving ever more compelling to today's international traveller. With marquee events such as the Expo 2020 looming on the near horizon, one can expect the accolades to keep coming as Dubai looks to make further progress towards its goal of becoming the world's most visited city within the next five years."

Issam Kazim, CEO of Dubai Corporation for Tourism and Commerce Marketing, said that maintaining Dubai's position in the index as the fourth most popular travel destination in the world demonstrates the emirate's ongoing commitment to the continued development of its tourism proposition and its efforts to maintain growth in visitor numbers to the emirate.

"Our strong partnerships between government and private sectors ensure that Dubai's reputation as a must experience destination continues to drive visitor growth in line with our Tourism Vision for 2020."

Kazim said Dubai's top rank based on international visitor spending highlights the city's vast offering as a family destination. In addition, it confirms Dubai's status as a destination that attracts repeat visits due to its evolving tourism offering, from popular shopping options such as malls to traditional gold and textiles souqs plus new and upcoming entertainment venues such as IMG Worlds of Adventure and The Dubai Opera as well as Dubai Parks and Resorts.

"Dubai caters to all budgets and visitors can still take a traditional abra across the creek for just Dh1 as well as enjoy a range of open parks and beaches," he added.

According to the study, Dubai is expected to receive 15.27 million international visitors in 2016, an increase of 7.5 per cent over 2015.

The difference between the global Top 10 and the fastest growing Top 10 destination cities suggests that Asia/Pacific and the Middle East and Africa have become increasingly important to the global economic landscape. Many cities measured on the index have increasing growth trajectories, indicating the growing interest in both visiting and living in cities.

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