By Andy Sambidge
New report sees 24% rise in revenues while city ranked ninth globally for visitor numbers
Tourists visiting Dubai in 2011 are likely to spend a total of $7.8bn, up 24 percent on the previous year, a new report by MasterCard has forecast.
Its Index of Global Destination Cities ranked Dubai at number nine globally and number one in the Middle East and North Africa region.
It said Dubai was set to see nearly eight million visitors this year, an increase of 17.3 percent on last year.
Tourism spending in the city is expected to be the third fastest growing in the world compared to 2010, behind Istanbul and Barcelona.
Dubai was ranked higher than tourist hotspots Rome, New York, Milan, Barcelona and Tokyo.
The MasterCard report also revealed that visitors from London were most common in Dubai, followed by Kuwait, Beijing, Frankfurt and Paris.
"While there is no surprise that visitors fromLondon and Kuwait are both the biggest in number and the highest in their expenditures in Dubai, it is interesting to note that Beijing now ranks third inboth number of visitors to Dubai and how much they spend there," the report said.
A total of 926,000 tourists are expected to visit Dubai from London this year, spending $876m, more than twice the next highest.
Globally, London topped the rankings of both international visitors and spending.
MasterCard said more than 20 million tourists would visit the English capital, spending $25.6bn.
In terms of visits from abroad, Paris (18.1 million) and Bangkok (11.5 million) made up the top three positions in the index.
The index showed that it expected Abu Dhabi to see about two million tourists this year, spending a total of $2bn.
It also said that Riyadh in Saudi Arabia was the MENA region's fastest growing in terms of dollars spent by international tourists.
It ranked 10th in the regional analysis with total spending of $1.2bn expected this year, a 35.5 percent increase on last year.
MasterCard said destination cities were ranked globally in terms of the number of their total international visitor arrivals and crossborder spending by these same visitors.
By visitor arrivals, European cities dominated globallywith 10 out of the top 20 positions, and with London and Paris in first and second.
Cities in Asia/Pacific come second, accounting for eight of the top 20 with Bangkok in third position.
Only one city in North America - New York - was included in the top 20.For all the latest travel news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.