Dubai has retained its position as the fourth most visited city in the world for the fifth year in a row, according to Mastercard’s Global Destination Cities Index (GDCI) 2019. The city welcomed 15.93 million international overnight visitors last year and the city is expected to continue building on its success in 2019.
Meanwhile, 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% between 2009 and 2018 in overnight arrivals.
“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. “As the official payment technology partner for Expo 2020, we look forward to delivering priceless experiences to millions of visitors from across the globe as Dubai hosts the largest event ever staged in the region.”
According to Mastercard’s Global Destination Cities Index, since 2009, the number of international overnight visitors grew an astounding 76%.
The index ranks 200 cities based on third-party research and proprietary analysis in terms of the number of their total international overnight visitor arrivals and the cross-border spending by these same visitors in the destination cities in 2018, and gives visitor and expenditure growth forecasts.
This year, it revealed that Bangkok remains the No. 1 destination, with more than 22 million international overnight visitors. Paris and London, in flipped positions this year, hold the No. 2 and 3 spots, respectively both hovering over 19 million. All top ten cities saw more international overnight visitors in 2018 than the year before, with the exception of London, which decreased nearly 4%. The forecast for 2019 indicates across-the-board growth, with Tokyo expecting the largest uptick in visitors.
When looking at the cities by dollar spent, Dubai tops the list with travelers spending $553 per day on average. Makkah, new to the top 10 last year, remains at No. 2 for the second consecutive year, with Bangkok rounding out the top three.