Dubai is one of the world’s top five most popular travel destinations, the latest Mastercard Global Destinations Cities Index has revealed.
The emirate, which welcomed 14.87 million international overnight visitors in 2016, ranked fourth globally in the ninth edition of the index.
Dubai topped the list for the highest international overnight spend for the second year running, with visitors to the city spending $28.50 billion in 2016.
At the same time, visitor numbers continue to rise, with an anticipated growth rate of 7.7 percent in 2017. The destination is on target to receive 20 million overnight tourists by 2020.
Khalid Elgibali, division president for Middle East and North Africa, Mastercard, said: “Dubai’s top rankings in the ninth Mastercard Global Destination Cities Index reaffirms the strength of the emirate as a leading global travel, tourism and shopping destination. With its relentless focus on continuously innovating its business and leisure infrastructure and offerings, Dubai continues to reinforce its position on the world map as a highly attractive destination for visitors of all ages and nationalities.”
He added: “The city’s retail sector coupled with its year-round calendar of festivals, events and a wide range of shopping experiences, also continues to be a huge draw for international visitors as supported by its ranking as the top global destination in terms of visitor expenditure.”
Issam Kazim, CEO of Dubai Corporation for Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DCTCM), said Dubai’s strong ranking in the Mastercard index confirmed the effectiveness of partnerships between the government and private sector in driving tourism industry growth.
“Dubai continues to be a must-visit and must-return destination for both business and leisure travellers, and the opening of world-class attractions and venues such as IMG Worlds of Adventure, Dubai Parks and Resorts and Dubai Opera in 2016 enhanced the offering for all visitors, including families,” he said.
“With new offerings in 2017 including La Perle, the city’s first permanent theatrical show, and hotels taking the total number of rooms to more than 105,000, Dubai has something fresh to offer visitors each time.”