Dubai and Makkah have topped the Mastercard Global Destination Index in terms of visitors being top spenders more on average than any other destination. While Dubai led the list with $30.82bn spent last year, Makkah, which was new to the top 10 last year, retained its second position with $20.09bn.
According to the Index, Dubai saw 15.93mn international overnight visitors, who spent on an average 3.5 nights, with an average spend per day of $553. The Index pegs the growth for 2019 at 1.68%.
The index, which ranked 200 cities based on analysis of publicly available visitor volume and spend data, did not see any change in the No.1 destination, Bangkok with more than 22mn international overnight visitors. Bangkok has retained the No.1 spot for six of the past seven years.
London, Paris, and Bangkok having been in the top 3 since 2010. However, this year Paris and London swapped positions to reach No. 2 and 3 spots, respectively both hovering over 19mn. All top ten cities saw more international overnight visitors in 2018 than the prior year, with the exception of London, which decreased by nearly 4%, according to the Index. New York, was among the superstars of the top 10 with 13.6mn overnight visitors.
Noting that change has been the only constant over the past 10 years, the report said that with each year international travellers and spends have been increasing in the cities. “Between all of the destinations within the Index, arrivals have grown on average 6.5% year-over-year since 2009, with expenditure growing on average 7.4%,” the report stated.
According to the report, cities in Asia-Pacific have seen the largest increase in international travellers since 2009, growing 9.4%, compared to Europe that recorded the second-highest growth of 5.5%. The report noted that this was spurred on by the growth in mainland Chinese travellers. “Since 2009, mainland China has jumped six places to be the No. 2 origin country for travellers to the 200 included destinations — behind only the U.S,” it said.
The 2019 forecast predicts an across-the-board growth, with Tokyo expecting the largest uptick in visitors with a forecast of 10.2% in growth. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia follows in second with a forecast of 9.87%. Istanbul can expect the third largest uptick with 8.14% predicted for the capital city of Turkey.