At $30 billion, Dubai takes in the most global tourist dollars by far

06 September 2019 Consultancy-me.com

Dubai has retained its ranking as the world’s fourth most visited city on Mastercard’s latest Global Cities Destination Index. The release comes as Dubai’s Department of Tourism has announced the ten finalists of its Futurism accelerator.

Mastercard’s annual Global Cities Destination Index has landed with Dubai steady at fourth among the world’s most visited cities – clocking close to 16 million international visits for the year. The Emirate has however lost some ground to the previously third-placed Paris, which gained around one and a half million more visitors to slip slightly ahead of London (~19 million), while Bangkok was once again the world’s number one international destination.

Still, Dubai can console itself with reeling in the most tourist dollars of any city worldwide, its overnight international visitor spend of nearly $31 billion easily eclipsing the $20 billion brought in by Bangkok, which was also below the ~$21 billion figure recorded for second-placed Makkah (with last year’s spending up by nearly 8 percent on 2017) – despite the holy city only featuring at 13th for total visitors overall, its 10 million arrivals half that of Bangkok’s.

With the average length of stay in Dubai set at three and a half days – compared to 4.8 days in Bangkok – visitors to Dubai spend a whopping $553 on average per day, well above the $184 spent in Bangkok and close to four times that spent in London. With a population of three or so million, this translates to Dubai also pulling in the second-most tourist revenue per resident (behind Phuket), at around $11,000 a head, amounting to 27 percent as a ratio to local GDP. 

Top tourist destinations around the world

“Once again, Dubai has earned and maintained its position as the fourth most visited city in the world in Mastercard’s Global Destinations Cities Index. 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 travellers alike,” commented Girish Nanda, Mastercard General Manager for the UAE & Oman.

Not content to rest on its laurels, Dubai continues to innovate in the tourism space, such as through Dubai Tourism’s Futurism start-up accelerator (hosted in collaboration with Accenture) – an entrepreneurial platform which no less than aims to bring about “a paradigm shift within the industry ecosystem to help create innovative tourism experiences.” With applications having closed at the beginning of August, Dubai Tourism has now announced its ten successful finalists.

Among them; ‘microstay’ platform Stayhopper, which allows visitors to book hotels by the hour; US ‘micro-vibration’ pattern recognition tech firm Xandar Kardian, which measures micro human movements via Radar Signal Processing; and Chatdesk, which uses existing brand converts as freelance customer support agents on social media channels. The ten selected start-ups will now embark on a six-week accelerator with support from the programme partners.

“Accenture is committed to the region’s Travel and Tourism aspirations and this collaboration with Dubai Tourism is an example of our dedication to bringing and embedding an exceptional quality of start-ups into the Dubai ecosystem to grow the industry,” said Norberto Cibien, Products Client Service Group lead for Accenture Middle East. “We are proud to play our part by bringing our expertise in building and running similar programmes around the world to support in creating an internationally renowned ecosystem where travel and tourism start-ups can thrive.”