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Dubai tops world in tourist spending – again

Dubai leads Mastercard’s index that measures per person per day spending

Visitors are spending more money in Dubai than any other city in the world – again. New statistics released from Mastercard reveal visitors on average spend more per day in Dubai than anywhere else.

The data from Mastercard’s Global Destination Cities Index (GDCI) shows visitors spent an average of $553 per person per day in the emirate, far ahead of second-place Paris ($296 per day). Singapore was third at $272 per person per day.

Dubai has now topped Mastercard’s visitor spending charts for four years in a row. Dubai was also the fourth-most visited city last year, according to the statistics, welcoming almost 16 million (about 15,930,000 to be more exact) travellers. It was behind only London (third), Paris (second) and Bangkok (first).

Source: Mastercard Global Destination Cities Index 2019

Visitors also spent more overall in Dubai than any other city. About $30.82bn was spent by travellers in Dubai in 2018 – far above second-place Makkah in Saudi Arabia ($20.09bn).

Spending in Dubai is also up from 2017. In that year, visitors spent about $537 per person per day, for an annual total of $29.7bn.

“As the most attractive destination in the Middle East and Africa region for international visitors, Dubai connects people from all over the world with a diverse range of offerings for leisure and business travelers alike,” said Girish Nanda, general manager for the UAE and Oman at Mastercard.

Sanjive Khosla, chief commercial officer for Expo 2020 Dubai, said the numbers are a good sign ahead of the Expo’s opening in October 2020. “The impressive visitor numbers are set to increase even further next year, as we welcome 192 nations for a once-in-a-lifetime celebration at Expo 2020 Dubai. With millions of visitors projected to come from outside the UAE, we anticipate that the region’s first-ever World Expo will create short- and long-term benefits for Dubai’s tourism industry while enhancing its reputation as a dynamic and diverse global meeting point.”

Numbers were also good for other UAE destinations. Abu Dhabi was ranked as the fastest-growing city in the Middle East and Africa, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 16.7 per cent between 2009 and 2018 in overnight arrivals.

Worldwide, Mastercard’s Global Destination Cities Index claims the number of international overnight visitors has grown by 76 per cent since 2009.

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