Dubai remains one of the world’s most visited cities

Dubai remains one of the world’s most visited cities

AMEinfo on September 5, 2019, came up with this superlative statement article because Dubai remains one of the world’s most visited cities in the world of today. The same media has already covered the same topic last year.

Dubai remains one of the world’s most visited cities – Global Destination Cities Index 2019

Dubai remains one of the world's most visited cities

“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” – Sanjive Khosla, CCO, Expo 2020 Dubai

  • Dubai welcomed 15.93 million overnight visitors in 2018, retaining its ranking as fourth most popular destination globally
  • Abu Dhabi is Middle East and Africa’s fastest-growing city with a 2009-2018 CAGR of 16.7%
  • When looking at the cities by dollar spent, Dubai tops the list with travellers spending USD $553 on average a day

Dubai has retained its position as the fourth most visited city in the world for the fifth year in a row, according to Mastercard’s Global Destination Cities Index (GDCI) 2019. The city welcomed 15.93 million international overnight visitors last year and the city is expected to continue building on its success in 2019.

The UAE’s capital, 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 2009 and 2018 in overnight arrivals.

“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,” said Girish Nanda, General Manager, UAE & Oman, Mastercard.

Sanjive Khosla, Chief Commercial Officer, Expo 2020 Dubai, said: “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.” 

Read: New real estate committee in Dubai aims to balance supply and demand in the property market

Mastercard Global Destination City Index 2019 – Key Findings

Over the past ten years, the world has seen economic ebbs and flows, evolving global competition and partnership, and boundless technological innovation. But, one thing has remained constant: people’s growing desire to travel the world, visit new landscapes and immerse themselves in other cultures. Mastercard’s Global Destination Cities Index, released today, quantifies this desire: since 2009, the number of international overnight visitors grew an astounding 76 per cent.

This year, the Global Destination Cities Index—which ranks 200 cities based on proprietary analysis of publicly available visitor volume and spend data—reveals that Bangkok remains the No. 1 destination, with more than 22 million international overnight visitors. Paris and London, in flipped positions this year, hold the No. 2 and 3 spots, respectively both hovering over 19 million. All top ten cities saw more international overnight visitors in 2018 than the prior year, with the exception of London, which decreased nearly 4 per cent. The forecast for 2019 indicates across-the-board growth, with Tokyo expecting the largest uptick in visitors.

When looking at the cities by dollar spent, Dubai tops the list with travellers spending USD $553 on average a day. Makkah, new to the top 10 last year, remains at No. 2 for the second consecutive year, with Bangkok rounding out the top three. 

Read: Exclusive: allows corporates to pilot their own journeys and save big

Notably this year, the Global Destination Cities Index offers a decade of insights to consider, with three key trends standing out. 

-Consistent & Steady Growth: Over the past decade, the one constant has been continual change. Each year, more people are travelling internationally and spending more in the cities. Between all of the destinations within the Index, arrivals have grown on average 6.5 per cent year-over-year since 2009, with expenditure growing on average 7.4 per cent. 

-The Sustained Dominance of Major Cities: While there has been significant movement in visitors to smaller cities, the top 10 has remained largely consistent. London, Paris and Bangkok have been the top 3 since 2010, with Bangkok as No. 1 six of the past seven years. New York is another top 10 stalwart, with 13.6 million overnight visitors this year.

-The Rise of Asia-Pacific International Travelers: Cities in the Asia-Pacific region have seen the largest increase in international travellers since 2009, growing 9.4 per cent. In comparison, Europe, which saw the second highest growth, was up 5.5 per cent. This is spurred on by the growth in mainland Chinese travellers. Since 2009, mainland China has jumped up six places to be the No. 2 origin country for travellers to the 200 included destinations—behind only the U.S.

Dubai remains one of the world's most visited cities


Today is World Cities Day 2018

Today is World Cities Day 2018

Today is World Cities Day 2018 and it is hosted by the city of Liverpool, UK and the event is being jointly organised with UN-Habitat and the Shanghai People’s Government.

The event is being attended by mayors, national and local government experts, representatives from global partnerships and coalitions and academics from Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, and the USA.  Panel sessions and seminars will give cities opportunities to exchange knowledge and best practices and focus international attention on sustainable urbanization.  

In the meantime, here is a picture of what is going on in the world.

UN-Habitat/Julius Mwelu Cities in developing countries like Nairobi in Kenya continue to grow rapidly.


Weekly migration of 1.4m to cities can contribute to ‘disasters’

 30 October 2018


Climate Change

The migration of some 1.4 million people every week to cities around the world “can strain local capacities, contributing to increased risk from natural and human made disasters’” according to the United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres.

In his message for World Cities Day, celebrated annually on 31 October, Mr. Guterres stressed that “hazards do not need to become disasters.”

“The answer is to build resilience – to storms, floods, earthquakes, fires, pandemics and economic crises,” he said.

Mr. Guterres explained that cities around the world are doing just that, forging new ways to increase resilience and sustainability.

The capital of Thailand, Bangkok has built vast underground water storage facilities to cope with increased flood risk and save water for drier periods.

In Quito, the capital of Ecuador in South America, local government has reclaimed or protected more than 200,000 hectares of land to boost flood protection, reduce erosion and safeguard the city’s freshwater supply and biodiversity.

The UN chief also indicated that the city of Johannesburg in South Africa “is involving residents in efforts to improve public spaces so they can be safely used for recreation, sports, community events and services such as free medical care.”


World Cities Day was established by the UN to promote the international community’s interest in global urbanization, push forward cooperation among countries in meeting opportunities and addressing challenges of urbanization, and contributing to sustainable urban development around the world.

Maimunah Mohd Sharif, Executive Director of the UN Human Settlements Programme (UN Habitat), flagged the importance of investing in resilience or face growing “economic, social, political and human” risks.

“It has been estimated that without action on climate change – which accounts for just one facet of resilience – some 77 million urban residents risk falling into poverty,” she warned, elaborating that human-made and environmental threats ranged from droughts, floods and fires to economic shocks, disease outbreaks, war and migration.

“Investing in resilience is a wise investment,” the UN Habitat chief said.

The theme of this year’s commemoration, Building Sustainable and Resilient Cities, focuses on the need to preserve human life and limit damage and destruction while continuing to provide infrastructure and services after a crisis.

A range of UN-backed international agreements, including the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Paris Agreement on climate change, the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction and the New Urban Agenda provide “a roadmap for a more sustainable and resilient world,” according to the UN Secretary-General. 

World Cities Day

Consumer Confidence & Spending Intentions

Consumer Confidence & Spending Intentions

UAE consumers upbeat about economic outlook . . .

A recent global survey of Consumer Confidence & Spending Intentions was undertaken by a leading performance management company Nielsen .   It shows that global consumer confidence remained stable in the first quarter however below the baseline score of 100, edging up one index point to 98 from last year’s 97.

The Nielsen consumer confidence index measures perceptions of local job prospects, personal finances and immediate spending intentions.

For purposes of this latest report, it surveyed through the polling of more than 30,000 online consumers in 63 countries, and showed that Global Consumer Confidence remained unabated by the downturn of the current global economy.

So much so that, in the world’s largest economy, the US consumer confidence score of 110 remained at or above the optimism baseline for nine consecutive quarters.

In Europe, confidence declined four points in the UK (97) and one point in Germany (97) from the previous quarter, as the outlook for jobs in the next 12 months worsened in both countries.  In France however, confidence declined 10 points to 64, and in Italy, two points to 59.

India remained the most bullish country in the world for the fourth consecutive quarter, with an index score of 134. India scored 134 was followed by consumers in the Philippines with 119 and Indonesia with 117.   Vietnam with 109 is another success story amongst emerging markets in the region, as consistently high consumer confidence scores continued to edge up by two and one percentage, respectively, in the first quarter.

In China, that which in 1966, its Communist leader at the time, Mao Zedong launched what became known as the Cultural Revolution.  The declared objective was to reassert his (Mao’s) authority over the Chinese leadership that started to lean towards too much consumerism as it was considered reactionary and anti-revolutionary.   Things have moved on since then and despite all that, today consumer confidence edged down two points to 105.  Confidence also declined 11 points in Hong Kong (88) and six points in Japan (73).

In Brazil, consumer confidence declined two points in the first quarter to the country’s lowest score (74) in Nielsen’s 11-year consumer-confidence history.   Confidence also fell sharply in Argentina (75) and Colombia (83), declining 13 points and 11 points, respectively, from the previous quarter.

Confidence also declined seven points in South Africa to 75 – a new low for the country in Nielsen’s 11-year consumer-confidence history.

In the MENA region, the optimism level in Saudi Arabia declined two points to match that of the UAE’s score.   According to the Nielsen report, a positive perception of their finances helped UAE resident consumers remain amongst the most optimistic in the world with an above-the-baseline score of 104 that compares favourably with a global average of 98 points.

It notably shows that consumer confidence in the GCC and more specifically in the UAE, “an optimistic, above-the-baseline score of 104” was prevalent in the first three months of 2016.   This figure was however, four points below that of the preceding quarter.  This drop was immediately attributed to the decline in oil prices and the ensuing atmosphere that is taking a toll on consumer sentiments in the UAE.

The survey showed however that the country’s consumer confidence score, is nevertheless amongst the top ten globally and that the UAE’s residents are still upbeat about its economic outlook.  Interestingly, confidence in neighbouring Saudi Arabia reported a consumer confidence decline of two points, bringing it level with the UAE score.

In the meantime, Dubai set to build the largest Expo site ever at Jebel Ali Dubai World Central (DWC) as hosting the Dubai Expo in 2020, is plodding on towards the date of that mega event.   Construction of buildings and infrastructure are on-going.  Read more on all related activities at


World Expo 2020 1