The Dubai Mall was the world's most-visited shopping and leisure destination, welcoming more than 54 million visitors in 2011, officials have said.
The number of shoppers last year represented an increase of about 15 percent on the 47 million visitors in 2010.
The numbers also surpass visitor arrivals to all landmark leisure destinations and theme parks in the world including Times Square (39.2 million); Central Park (38 million); and Niagara Falls (22.5 million) among others.
The number of visitors to The Dubai Mall is more than the number of annual tourists to New York City in 2011, reported at 50.2 million.
Retail sales across the various outlets in the mall also posted average growth of about 35 percent compared with 2010, mall officials added.
Mohamed Alabbar, chairman of Emaar Properties, said: "The Dubai Mall's record-breaking footfall elevates its position as the world's most visited tourism and shopping destination, topping the annual visitor arrivals to all landmark attractions anywhere in the world.
"The visitor numbers to The Dubai Mall are also a strong testament to the growing appeal of Dubai as a preferred tourism destination, and a compelling indicator of the robust performance of the city's retail sector led by this trophy asset of Emaar.
He added: "The visitor footfall is matched by the increase in retail sales, highlighting the contribution of The Dubai Mall to Dubai's retail sector."
On Wednesday, organisers of Dubai's annual shopping festival said they are expecting an up to 10 percent surge in retail sales thanks to a rise in participating stores and an uptick in tourist numbers.
The Gulf emirate’s month-long event, which kicked off on Thursday, will see more than 6,000 stores slash their prices to attract tourists and local encourage residents to bolster their retail spending.
“We are looking to increase the spend to about 5 to 10 percent more than last year,” said Laila Suhail, CEO of Dubai Events and Promotions (DEP), the organisers of the festival.
“We are looking to attract more [visitors]. We make sure we coincide with the GCC spring holiday and the Chinese New Year to attract the maximum number of visitors to Dubai.”
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