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Dubai climbs up on tourist map

Abdul Basit / 13 June 2012

Dubai ranks among the top 10 tourist destinations worldwide and the emirate is expected to attract 8.8 million international visitors in 2012 with spending estimated at around $8.8 billion, according to an index released by global credit card company MasterCard

Tourists watch a show at the musical fountain in front of the Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest tower, in Dubai. - Reuters 

Dubai features prominently on MasterCard’s Worldwide Index of Global Destination Cities, improving its position from ninth to eighth in terms of numbers of inbound international visitors and outstripping cities such as New York, Amsterdam, Kuala Lumpur and Shanghai.

The index predicts visitor spending in Dubai will jump by 18.9 per cent, or $1.4 billion, in 2012, compared to $7.4 billion in 2011. Visitor numbers are also expected to jump by 15.3 per cent in 2012 over 2011. The report analyses both visitor traffic and cross-border travel spend in 132 cities around the globe. Boasting attractions such as a seven-star hotel and the world’s tallest building, Dubai continues its third year holding the top spots in two categories for the Middle East and Africa, or MEA, region: first, as the most popular destination; and second, for the highest total in average visitor spending.

Abu Dhabi is in third position in the region. Both emirates are expected to welcome  11.5 million visitors with an estimated spending of $11.4 billion.

The regional outlook for MEA is equally bright, with visitor numbers for the top ten cities set to grow by 7.2 per cent, total international spending predicted to rise by 10.4 per cent and average spend per visit is set to grow by three per cent.

Visitors will spend the most in Dubai and this is also a fast growing city within the top ten for the region. Abu Dhabi will be the fastest growing in terms of spending, according to the report, up 20.7 per cent this year.

Cairo also retained its second-place position with a 8.3 per cent growth in 2012, suggesting that tourism there is recovering well after the turmoil last year.

London has again secured global dominance. The UK capital was ranked as the world’s top destination city for the second year running, with Paris, Bangkok, Singapore, Istanbul, Hong Kong, Madrid, Dubai, Frankfurt and Kuala Lumpur rounding out the top 10. Seoul, Rome, New York, Shanghai, Barcelona, Milan, Amsterdam, Vienna, Beijing and Taipei were ranked 11th to 20th, respectively.



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