Tourist and People from Dubai made their way down to the Burj Khalifa to enjoy the day with friends. Image Credit: Francois Nel/Gulf News Archives

Dubai: Dubai has retained its crown as the most visited city in the Middle East and landed sixth in the world in the latest global ranking of tourist destinations.

Euromonitor International unveiled on Tuesday the Top 100 City Destinations Ranking for 2017 and the latest report shows there are now more tourists visiting Dubai than many other places on earth. 

Top performing cities in Middle East, 2017

Dubai has moved one place up, from the seventh to the sixth position, edging out tourist hotspots like Paris, New York, Rome and Tokyo.

It is the only Middle Eastern city in the top ten and is expected to attract more than 26 million visitors by 2025, overtaking London, which is currently in the third place.

Overall, Hong Kong held on to its title of the most visited city in the world for the eighth consecutive year, followed by Bangkok.

The top ten most visited cities in the world are:

1.Hong Kong: 26.6 million visitors
2.Bangkok: 21.2 million visitors
3.London: 19.2 million visitors
4.Singapore: 16.6 million visitors
5.Macau: 15.4 million visitors
6.Dubai: 14.9 million visitors
7.Paris: 14.4 million visitors
8.New York: 12.7 million visitors
9.Shenzhen: 12.6 million visitors
Kuala Lumpur: 12.3 million visitors

According to Euromonitor’s data, the number of tourists visiting Dubai has jumped by 11.2 per cent, from 14.9 million in 2016 to more than 16.5 million in 2017, making it a far more popular destination of choice for travellers compared to most cities on earth.

“Dubai seems insulated from all the turmoil that is going on around it. The city’s tourism industry is booming,” Euromonitor said.

The city’s rise to popularity is thanks to the integrated approach by all industry players under the 2020 vision.

This year, Dubai is regarded as the most sought-after destination for business travellers, or for meetings, incentives, conferencing and exhibitions (MICE) due to its modern infrastructure and premium lodging landscape.

“Regional offices in free zones further strengthen the case for business travellers,” said Nikola Kosutic, Euromonitor senior research manager.

“Dubai’s focus on developing world-class theme parks across adventure and entertainment, such as Legoland and Motiongate, are driving demand in the family holiday segment,” she added.

“The dominance of four to five-star lodging discourages aspiring tourists from developing countries but expansion of mid-market options and Airbnb helps bridge the gap thereby sourcing more tourists.”

Other key takeaways of the new ranking

Dubai is by far the largest and fastest-growing destination in the Middle East and Africa, but Saudi Arabia has three cities in the top ranking.

"The hajj is a major draw for arrivals to the country, but the kingdom is looking to ensure it is not just Mecca that benefits," Euromonitor said. "While Dubai is booming, many cities are dealing with turmoil."

The top ten most visited Middle East and African cities are:

1. Dubai
2.​Mecca
3.Johannesburg
4.Riyadh
5.Dammam City
6.Cairo
7.Doha
8.Jerusalem
9.Tel Aviv
10.Marrakech

Dubai has recently bagged a number of awards during the World Travel Awards, which seeks to honour excellence in the tourism industry.

The emirate was named the Middle East’s leading destination of the year, while a number of its landmarks, including the Burj Khalifa and Burj Al Arab  were declared the region’s leading tourist attraction and leading all-suite hotel for 2017, respectively.

Full list: 100 Most visitied cities on earth:

  1. Hong Kong
  2. Bangkok
  3. London
  4. Singapore
  5. Macau
  6. Dubai
  7. Paris
  8. New York
  9. Shenzhen
  10. Kuala Lumpur
  11. Phuket
  12. Rome
  13. Tokyo
  14. Taipei
  15. Istanbul
  16. Seoul
  17. Guangzhou
  18. Prague
  19. Mecca
  20. Miami
  21. Delhi
  22. Mumbai
  23. Barcelona
  24. Pattaya
  25. Shanghai
  26. Las Vegas
  27. Milan
  28. Amsterdam
  29. Antalya
  30. Vienna
  31. Los Angeles
  32. Cancun
  33. Osaka
  34. Berlin
  35. Agra
  36. Ho Chi Minh City
  37. Johannesburg
  38. Venice
  39. Madrid
  40. Orlando
  41. Riyadh
  42. Johor Bahru
  43. Dublin
  44. Florence
  45. Chennai
  46. Mosco
  47. Athens
  48. Jaipur
  49. Beijing
  50. Denpasar
  51. Toronto
  52. Ha Noi
  53. Sydney
  54. San Franciso
  55. Budapest
  56. Ha Long
  57. Punta Cana
  58. Damman City
  59. Munich
  60. Zhuhai
  61. Lisbon
  62. Cairo
  63. Penang Island
  64. Doha
  65. Copenhagen
  66. Heraklion
  67. Jerusalem
  68. Edirne
  69. Phnom Penh
  70. St Petersburg
  71. Jeju
  72. Kyoto
  73. Chiang Mai
  74. Warsaw
  75. Krakow
  76. Honolulu
  77. Melbourne
  78. Tel Aviv
  79. Marrakech
  80. Brussels
  81. Auckland
  82. Vancouver
  83. Jakarta
  84. Frankfurt
  85. Artvin
  86. Guilin
  87. Stockholm
  88. Rio de Janeiro
  89. Kolkata
  90. Buenos Aires
  91. Chiba
  92. Siem Reap
  93. Nice
  94. Mexico City
  95. Lima
  96. Taichung
  97. Rhodes
  98. Washington DC
  99. Abu Dhabi
  100. Colombo

Source: Euromonitor International