Image Credit: Supplied Picture

Dubai: The Dubai Mall welcomed over 80 million visitors in 2014, making it the world’s most visited lifestyle destination for the fourth consecutive year, the mall’s developer, Emaar, said on Tuesday.

Visitor numbers recorded in the mall were higher than footfall figures in other international destinations, provided in 2014 by Business Insider, with New York’s Times Square at 39.2 million, Central Park at 37.5 million, Washington D.C’s Union Station at 32.85 million, and Niagara Falls at 22.5 million.

Meanwhile, annual footfall at Orlando’s Disneyworld’s Magic Kingdom stood at 17.5 million, and at seven million in Paris’s Eiffel Tower.

“No other global tourist destination or even airports, which traditionally have the highest footfall, have achieved the significant visitor arrivals The Dubai Mall recorded,” Mohammad Al Abbar, chairman of Emaar Malls, said in a statement.

The contribution of The Dubai Mall to the city’s retail sector is significant, with the mall estimated to account for about five per cent of the emirate’s gross domestic product (GDP).

The mall, which houses over 1,200 retail outlets and 200 food and beverage outlets, saw tenant sales grow by 14 per cent in 2014. The growth was seen across categories including fashion, luxury jewellery, footwear, sports and recreation, health and beauty, entertainment, and dining.

The popularity of the mall was further highlighted by strong social media engagement from around the world. The mall was one of the top 10 geo-tagged locations globally on Instagram, and has a strong following of 1.5 million people on Facebook — the highest for any shopping mall in the world.

On Twitter, The Dubai Mall has over 250,000 followers, which is 80 per cent more than the second most popular Twitter handle from the UAE. It is also the fastest growing profile in the country.

Nasser Rafi, chief executive officer of Emaar Malls, stated that the mall was set for expansion, with the addition of another one million square feet to the Fashion Avenue. The mall will also see another 150 high-end international brands.

Attractions at The Dubai Mall include Sega Republic, the largest indoor theme park of its kind; an ice rink; and the 22-screen Reel Cinemas. Additionally, the mall serves as the gateway to ‘At the Top, Burj Khalifa Sky,’ the world’s tallest observatory deck.