Foreign visitors to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) charged a total of $638 million to their visa cards in 2001, seven percent up from the previous year, a Visa International spending trends report revealed. The total number of transactions carried out by foreigners during their stay in the UAE rose by 20 percent during the same period to 3.2 million. The average value of each transaction stood at $213.
The biggest spenders were the British cardholders, spending $158.8 million in the Emirates. American visitors spent $74.5 million, while tourists from France spent $27 million and German foreigners spent $23 million. Visitors from Arab countries purchased $119.5 million worth of merchandise with their visa cards. Saudi Arabians were the biggest Arab spenders, charging a total of $73 million to their Visa cards.
Spending by UAE cardholders abroad increased during the past year from $335 million to $398 million, an increase of nearly 19 percent. This rise resulted from 2.3 million transactions carried out in 2001, an improvement of nearly 30 percent over the year 2000. UAE visitors to the United Kingdom charged $78 million worth of transactions to their visa cards.
“We want to see more small-scale payments taking place using payment cards,” explained General Manager for Visa in the Middle East Peter Scriven. Visa cards are currently accepted at 16,124 locations in the Emirates.
Total worldwide international expenditure on Visa cards reached $3.4 billion in 2001, with the most popular destinations recorded as the United Kingdom, United States of America, Germany, France and Saudi Arabia. The UAE is ranked the 30th most popular tourist destination out of a total 130 countries. — (menareport.com)
© 2002 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )