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Dubai beats Riyadh in international visitor spending

Dubai Downtown Night Scene With City Lights,


Dubai generates the highest international overnight visitor expenditure in the Mea region, reveals MasterCard’s 2014 Global Destination Cities Index.

The emirate, which welcomed 11.95 million international overnight visitors in 2014 – a one per cent increase from last year – recorded $10.9 billion in visitor expenditure – a 7.3 per cent surge from 2013.

Meanwhile, the Saudi capital ranks number two, having recorded $4.1bn in visitor spending this year, followed by Abu Dhabi, Cairo and Amman.

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Source: MasterCard’s 2014 Global Destination Cities Index.


Released last month, the MasterCard 2014 Global Destination Cities Index is based on annual international visitor numbers to 132 major destination cities in the world and their cross-border spending.

From the findings, it’s clear that Dubai has made a name for itself as the most attractive tourist destination in the Mea region.

“Dubai has all of the attributes that make it a luxury destination – it has luxury dining [options] and tourism, as well as malls. There’s a holistic approach to the luxury market in Dubai. In Saudi Arabia, we don’t have that experience. Purchasing power is here in Saudi Arabia and luxury brands are performing well, but if you compare the experience and performance, Dubai is a better destination,” says Said Baaghil, a Saudi-based branding and marketing strategy consultant.

Meanwhile, Dubai continues to attract a growing number of travellers from within the Middle East and beyond, including Europe, although inter-region visitors account for 66 per cent of the overall visitor numbers.

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Source: MasterCard’s 2014 Global Destination Cities Index.


Tourists from London spent a whopping $1,283 million in the cosmopolitan city, followed by Riyadh ($359mn), Kuwait ($339mn), Jeddah ($333mn) and Paris ($322mn).

With growing air connectivity, innovative infrastructure and world-class shopping malls, it’s no surprise that Dubai, which has retained its top position in the index since 2010, is set to become a global tourism hub in the future.

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