Dubai continues to be a major attraction for tourists worldwide as the emirate moved up in ranking, visitor number and tourist spending in 2012.

The emirate saw its ranking improving one notch to eight globally ahead of Frankfurt, Kuala Lumpur, Seoul, Rome, New York, Shanghai, Barcelona, Vienna and many other major cities, according to MasterCard’s “Worldwide Index of Global Destination Cities” for 2012.

Similarly, the number of visitors jumped to 8.8 million, an increase of 15.3 per cent; while the spending by tourists will also jump by around 18.5 per cent to $8.8 billion (Dh32.3 billion) this year as compared to $7.4 billion in 2011, MasterCard projected in its report.


The report predicted that visitors from London will top in terms of spending in Dubai this year. They are projected to expend about $1.2 billion followed by visitors from Paris ($297 million) and Munich ($267 million).


In the outbound travel, 182,000 visitors from Dubai to Sydney will be spending around $976 million (Dh2.18 billion) this year – the highest by the Dubai visitors to any city worldwide. Sydney is followed by London where 232,000 visitors will expend approximately $608 million in 2012, according to MasterCard estimates.


Other top cities rated by MasterCard from the Middle East and Africa include Cairo (3.3m visitors), Abu Dhabi (2.7m visitors), Johannesburg (2.5m visitors) Riyadh (1.9m visitors), Amman (1.7m visitors) and Tunis (1.6m visitors). Cairo retained its second place while Abu Dhabi was rated third, up from sixth in 2011, propelled by an impressive 17.9 per cent growth.


The number of visitors to the top 10 destination cities in the Middle East and Africa in 2012 is an increase of 7.2 per cent from 2011, bringing the total to just below 29 million. Total cross-border spending by visitors in these cities shows a more impressive growth of 10.4 per cent, reaching $34.1 billion.

It said the regional outlook for the Middle East and Africa is equally bright, with visitor numbers for the top ten cities set to grow by 7.2 per cent, total international spending predicted to rise by 10.4 per cent and average spend per visit set to grow by three per cent. Visitors will spend the most in Dubai and this is also a fast growing city within the top ten for that region.

Abu Dhabi will be the fastest growing in terms of spend, according to the report, up 20.7 per cent this year. Looking at the full list of cities, Durban will be the fastest growing for the region in terms of visitor numbers and is predicted to be the second fastest growing city in our report. Visitor numbers to Abu Dhabi are set to grow nearly three and a half times faster than New York.

The other cities ranked in the top 10 in 2012 are London, Paris, Bangkok, Singapore, Istanbul, Hong Kong, Madrid, Dubai, Frankfurt and Kuala Lumpur.
Source: Emirates 24/7