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Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Dubai ranks among top 10 tourist destinations


Dubai ranks among top 10 tourist destinations
Abdul Basit

7 June 2011
DUBAI — Dubai ranks among top ten tourists destinations worldwide and the emirate is expected to attract about eight million international tourists in 2011 and their spending is estimated to be around $7.8 billion, according to a new research released by MasterCard.
Dubai features prominently on the Index, coming in ninth in terms of numbers of inbound international visitors and outstripping cities such as New York, Amsterdam, Kuala Lampur and Shanghai, according to the inaugural MasterCard Worldwide Index of Global Destination Cities released at a news conference on Monday.
The Index ranks 132 cities in terms of the number of their total international visitor arrivals and the cross-border spending by these same visitors in the destination cities, and gives visitor and passenger growth forecasts for 2011.
With 7.9 million international visitors expected in 2011, Dubai is the ninth most highly ranked destination city in the world. This represents a growth rate of 17.3 per cent when compared to 2010, a marked increase from the visitor growth of 13.5 per cent that the city experienced over 2009. Dubai also ranks eighteenth in the world in terms of the volume of international visitor spend with $7.8 billion anticipated in 2011, up from $6.3 billion in 2010 and $5.2 billion in 2009.
For Abu Dhabi, the expectation is for robust growth of 15.5 per cent in terms of inbound international visitors in 2011 compared to 2010. The capital is also expected to draw in an international visitor spend of $2 billion in 2011, representing an increase of 21.8 per cent compared to 2010. “.... To see Dubai and Abu Dhabi emerging as vital destination centres regionally and globally .... is exceptionally good news as we see signs of renewed consumer optimism and economic growth in the UAE. Travel is a critical driver of this emerging landscape, and the Global Cities Index is part of our endeavor to understand the wider economic significance and business impact of inbound travel into cities such as Dubai and Abu Dhabi,” said Raghu Malhotra, general manager, Middle East, MasterCard Worldwide.

New strategy

The latest Index from MasterCard is a new approach to understanding the global economy from the perspective of connectivity between global cities, especially in terms of international travel and cross-border expenditures.
“The leading cities of the world – the global cities – are the very nodal hubs that knit the global economy together. Without these global cities, there would be no global economy,” observed Dr. Yuwa Hedrick-Wong, global economic advisor, MasterCard Worldwide.
“While cities have been measured by their processing of capital and goods and services in the past, data on the human dimension of globalisation – cross-border travel by air and expenditures – has not been as readily available. Global trade and investment are important, but better human connectivity would certainly complement them in driving global commerce forward on a more balanced and productive foundation.”
Overall London topped the world’s cities by visitor numbers with 20.1 million inbound passengers expected in 2011, ahead of Paris in second with 18.1 million. Cities in Asia/Pacific account for eight of the top twenty with Bangkok ranked third followed by Singapore with 11.4 million and Hong Kong with 10.9 million visitors. Only one city in North America is in the top twenty, New York, which is ranked twelfth with 7.6 million inbound passengers expected.   
Cairo and Tunis both recorded strong regional visitor growth for 2011 with 21.6 per cent and 19.9 per cent respectively. Cairo also ranks second for the region in growth of expenditure with an increase of 27 per cent.
Riyadh’s rise confirmed by regional rise. Huge visitor expenditure growth is recorded for the city of Riyadh for 2011, which ranks first in the region, with an impressive growth rate of 35.5 per cent. Dubai and Abu Dhabi in the UAE ranked third and fourth respectively, with growth rates estimated at 24 per cent and 21.8 per cent. —abdulbasit@khaleejtimes.com