Dubai has retained its ranking as the fourth most visited city in the world for the fourth straight year, according to Mastercard’s Global Destination Cities Index (GDCI) 2018.
The city welcomed 15.79 million overnight visitors last year and with a projected growth rate of 5.5 percent, the emirate is expected to witness another year of steady expansion in 2018.
Only Bangkok, London and Paris were ahead of Dubai in the global list.
Dubai also topped the list of global cities with the highest international overnight visitor spend for the third year in a row, with total international visitor spending of $29.70 billion in 2017, ahead of Saudi Arabia's Makkah ($18.45 billion) and London ($17.45 billion).
Abu Dhabi was also named the fastest growing city in the Middle East and Africa, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 18.21 percent between 2009 and 2017 in overnight visitor arrivals.
The UAE’s capital city was also among the top 10 global cities that experienced the strongest growth in international arrivals in the Mastercard study.
“Renowned for global firsts and world records, Dubai has never shied away from evolving, and has transformed itself into one of the world’s most prolific tourism and investment hubs,” said Girish Nanda, general manager, UAE & Oman, Mastercard.
Issam Kazim, CEO, Dubai Corporation for Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DCTCM) added: “The Mastercard Global Destination Cities Index 2018 confirms Dubai’s retained position as fourth most visited city in the world, cementing the success of joint initiatives we have been working on over the last 12 months in partnership with both government departments and the private sector.
"With a focus on highlighting the depth of Dubai’s offering, encouraging visitors to look beyond the city’s iconic landmarks Dubai has continued to be a must-visit and must-return destination.
"New attractions and experiences have contributed to this success – from culture and the arts to history and heritage as well as updates to attractions. The retail sector is also further enhancing its offering, presenting visitors with the opportunity to experience an ever-evolving array of shopping districts, activities and offers.”
The GDCI expanded this year to look at 162 cities across the world.
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