The city of Dubai has been ranked in the top five destinations for international overnight visitor arrivals for 2016, according to the annual Mastercard Global Destinations Cities Index released recently.
Bangkok took the top spot, with an expected 21.47 million visitors in 2016, just ahead of second-ranked London.
“The way people travel and spend across borders indicates just how interconnected and important the world’s cities are,” said Ann Cairns, President of International Markets, Mastercard.
“As the planning and experience of the trip become increasingly important, Mastercard is bringing all these pieces together seamlessly through innovation and connections.”
The Index also reported that the biggest surprise this year was Dubai’s jump to the top rank based on international visitor spending of US$31.3 billion (Dh115 billion), far exceeding the second ranked London estimated at US$19.8 billion (Dh73 billion).
The Index provides more than a ranking of the 132 most visited cities around the world.
It also provided an insight into top destination cities in each region, including the Middle East and Africa.
While Dubai, which welcomed 1 million visitors from Saudi Arabia alone in 2015, was the top ranked destination city in the region, Abu Dhabi was reported as the fastest-growing in the region with a growth rate of 81 percent.
This marks the United Arab Emirates as both the most visited, as well as the fastest growing country in the region for the second year in a row.
Forecasted international overnight visitors to the rest of the top 10 cities include:
London – 19.88 million visitors
Paris – 18.03 million visitors
Dubai – 15.27 million visitors
New York – 12.75 million visitors
Singapore – 12.11 million visitors
Kuala Lumpur – 12.02 million visitors
Istanbul – 11.95 million visitors
Tokyo – 11.70 million visitors
Seoul – 10.20 million visitors
Fastest Growing Destination Cities Ranking
The difference between the global top 10 and the fastest growing top 10 destination cities suggests that Asia Pacific and the Middle East and Africa have become increasingly important to the global economic landscape.
Many cities measured on the Index have increasing growth trajectories, indicating the growing interest in both visiting and living in cities.
Osaka has shown the strongest growth in international visitors at 24.15 percent over the last seven years.
Other cities that made the forecasted top 10 fastest growing cities include:
Chengdu – 20.14 percent
Abu Dhabi – 19.81 percent
Colombo – 19.57 percent
Tokyo – 18.48 percent
Riyadh – 16.45 percent
Taipei – 14.53 percent
Xi’an – 14.20 percent
Tehran – 12.98 percent
Xiamen – 12.93 percent
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