Dubai among top 10 global destination cities in 2013

Dubai is ranked seventh in the top 20 global destination cities in 2013 and retains the top rank in the Middle East and Africa region, according to MasterCard.

Bangkok tops the list, followed by London, Paris, Singapore and New York in the Global Destination Cities Index forecast that looks at 132 locations around the world.

The emirate has actually strengthened its presence, having climbed one notch from 2012. The MasterCard report estimates that the emirate will see a total of 9.89 million arrivals in 2013.

Dubai has also shown the strongest growth in increasing their arrival numbers by 10.9 per cent similar to that of Bangkok, which expects 15.98 million visitors.

MasterCard report is compiled annually and makes its predictions based on visitor numbers and estimated spend.

Dubai aims to triple its annual income from tourism to Dh300 billion by 2020, which would involve doubling the number of its hotel rooms
Occupancy at Dubai's 599 hotels, which have 80,500 rooms combined, was 78 per cent in 2012 as the number of visitors rose 9.3 per cent from a year ago to 10.16 million, according to the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM).

The emirate will have over 160,000 hotel rooms by 2020 and aims to attract 20 million tourists annually.

In terms of cross-border spending, MasterCard report ranked Dubai eight with an estimated $10.4 billion, which is 18 per cent over 2012 spend.

New York retained its top rank in the world with an estimated $18.59 billion, followed by London with $16.32 billion. Despite ranked first in the world by arrival numbers, Bangkok was place fourth in terms of visitor cross-border spend which is estimated at $14.28 billion.

In the Middle East and Africa region, Dubai remains unchallenged and has retained the number one rank.

Although the lineup of the top this year remains the same as in 2012, the most striking feature is how far ahead Dubai is it from the rest of regional cities.

Its international arrival number is almost twice that of Riyadh in second rank, and about four times as high as the third-ranked Johannesburg.

However, the destination city with the strongest growth rate among the top 10 is Abu Dhabi (seventh rank in the top 10 destination list for MEA region), with its growth in arrivals in 2013 estimated at 16.1 percent. If the same growth rates are maintained in the coming years, Abu Dhabi will overtake Lagos in 2016 and match Johannesburg in 2017.

In terms of top 10 destination cities in the Middle East and Africa region in terms of visitor cross-border spending, Dubai is ranked first and is far ahead of the rest, the report said.

Cross-border spending by international visitors in Dubai is estimated to be over three times higher than the second-ranked Riyadh, 3.7 times higher than the third-ranked Beirut, almost four times higher than the fourth-ranked Johannesburg, and is over six times higher than the sixth-ranked Abu Dhabi.

In its latest Tourism Outlook UAE, Visa Inc said its cardholders spent $4.7 billion on their cards while visiting the UAE in 2012, registering a 17.1 per cent increase compared to the previous year.

The top ten source markets were the United Kingdom, Russia, Saudi Arabia, United States, China, Qatar, Angola, Kuwait, India and France, which accounted for 62.6 per cent of total tourism spend, the company said.




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