Dubai Tops World in Tourist Spending Again


Dubai leads Mastercard’s index that measures per person per day spending

New statistics released from Mastercard (NYSE:MA) reveal visitors on average spend more per day in Dubai than anywhere else.

The data from Mastercard’s Global Destination Cities Index (GDCI) shows visitors spent an average of $553 per person per day in the emirate, far ahead of second-place Paris ($296 per day). Singapore was third at $272 per person per day.

Dubai has now topped Mastercard’s visitor spending charts for four years in a row.

Dubai was also the 4th-most visited city last year, according to the statistics, welcoming almost 16-M travellers. It was behind only London (3rd), Paris (4nd) and Bangkok Number 1.

Source: Mastercard Global Destination Cities Index 2019

Visitors also spent more overall in Dubai than any other city. About $30.82-B was spent by travellers in Dubai in Y 2018, far above second-place Makkah in Saudi Arabia ($20.09-B).

Spending in Dubai is also up from Y 2017. In that year, visitors spent about $537 per person per day, for an annual total of $29.7-B.

“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.

Dubai welcomed over 8.3-M tourists in 1-H of this year.

Sanjive Khosla, chief commercial officer for Expo 2020 Dubai, said the numbers are a good sign ahead of the Expo’s opening in October 2020. “The impressive visitor numbers are set to increase even further next year, as we welcome 192 nations for a once-in-a-lifetime celebration at Expo 2020 Dubai. With millions of visitors projected to come from outside the UAE, we anticipate that the region’s first-ever World Expo will create short- and long-term benefits for Dubai’s tourism industry while enhancing its reputation as a dynamic and diverse global meeting point.”

Numbers were also good for other UAE destinations. 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 Ys 2009 and 2018 in overnight arrivals.

Worldwide, Mastercard’s Global Destination Cities Index claims the number of international overnight visitors has grown by 76% since Y 2009.

By Ben Mack

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