Dubai has retained its ranking as the fourth most visited city in the world for the fourth straight year, according to Mastercard’s Global Destination Cities Index (GDCI) 2018. The city welcomed 15.79 million overnight visitors last year and with a projected growth rate of 5.5%, the emirate is expected to witness another year of steady expansion in 2018.
Dubai has also topped the list of global cities with the highest international overnight visitor spend for the third year in a row, with total international visitor spending of $29.70 billion in 2017.
Abu Dhabi has once again been named the fastest growing city in the Middle East and Africa, with a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 18.21% between 2009 and 2017 in overnight visitor arrivals. The UAE’s capital city is also among the top 10 global cities that experienced the strongest growth in international arrivals in the Mastercard study.
“Dubai has once again secured top rankings in Mastercard’s annual Global Destinations Cities Index. Renowned for global firsts and world records, Dubai has never shied away from evolving, and has transformed itself into one of the world’s most prolific tourism and investment hubs,” said Girish Nanda, General Manager, UAE & Oman, Mastercard.
Issam Kazim, CEO, Dubai Corporation for Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DCTCM) comments: “The Mastercard Global Destination Cities Index 2018 confirms Dubai’s retained position as fourth most visited city in the world, cementing the success of joint initiatives we have been working on over the last 12 months in partnership with both government departments and the private sector.“
Ahmed Al Khaja, CEO, Dubai Festivals and Retail Establishment (DFRE), an agency of Dubai Tourism, said: “Together with our strategic retail partners, we have developed a packed retail calendar offering exciting events and promotions, such as Dubai Shopping Festival and Dubai Summer Surprises, to ensure visitors will continue to enjoy the very best that Dubai has to offer. We are confident that Dubai’s retail sector will remain buoyant and tourism will continue to grow.”
Mastercard Global Destination Cities Index 2018 – Key Findings
The GDCI, which expanded this year to look at global 162 cities, is more than a ranking of the top travel destinations. Based on visitor volume and spend for the 2017 calendar year, the in-depth analysis also provides a growth forecast for 2018 and—for the first time—a view into average length of stay and amount spent per day.
The Global Top 10 Destination Cities
Top Cities by Dollars Spent
(Graph by Statista)
Dubai continues to be the top-ranking destination city based on overnight visitor spend, with visitors spending $537 per day on average. It is joined in the Top 10 with newcomers Makkah, Saudi Arabia, which debuts in the number two spot, Palma de Mallorca, Spain, and Phuket, Thailand. Of the most visited cities, Istanbul comes in with the lowest spend per day at just $108 on average.
Whether people visit cities for business or leisure, Mastercard works with a broad range of partners, including tourism bodies, urban planners, banks and merchants to:
-Identify and address urban challenges through scalable solutions in digital inclusion and economic development; Mastercard recently launched City Possible, a global platform for cities, research institutions and private sector organizations to address common challenges through collaboration
-Simplify access to key urban services such as public transportation; in over 100 cities (and growing), visitors and locals can use the contactless Mastercard they already carry to access trains and buses
-Help people traverse the globe with peace of mind: Seamless planning, conveniences, and connectivity at their destination and worry-free acceptance at millions of locations around the globe
-Create unique experiences across food, entertainment and shopping in 42 Priceless Cities around the globe, including Bangkok, London, Paris and many others throughout the Index
About the Mastercard Global Destination Cities Index
The Mastercard Index of Global Destination Cities ranks cities 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 2017, and gives international overnight visitor growth forecasts for 2018.
Public data is used in deriving the international overnight visitor arrivals and their cross-border spending in each of the 162 destination cities.
Forecasts are based upon the weighted average of the national level tourism forecasts and the actual 2018 monthly data at the destination level, which is available to the latest month before release.
This Index and the accompanying reports are not based on Mastercard volumes or transactional data.