Tourist at Palm Island in Dubai. Image Credit: Sankha Kar/Gulf News Archives

Dubai: Dubai has trumped New York and London as the city where tourists splash the most cash, according to Forbes.

The US-based business magazine said that the hordes of tourists to Dubai spent $28.5 billion in 2016 — based on the overnight visitor spend yardstick used by the travel industry.

Each year, millions of tourists visit the city due to the mind-boggling number of attractions that cater to both young and old from all over the world.

Dubai is home to the world's tallest man-made structure, the 818-metre Burj Khalifa, and is the Middle East's shopping capital and theme parks every parent would love to take their kids to.

The Mastercard Destination Cities named Dubai as the fourth-most popular destination in the world in 2017, but visitors here on average spend more nightly than anywhere else.

International visitors

According to the ninth annual Mastercard Global Destinations Cities Index, the emirate welcomed 14.87 million international overnight visitors in 2016 — with an expected continued growth of 7.7 per cent for 2017 — who spent $28.50 billion (Dh104.6 billion).

This si compared to Bangkok, the Thai capital, which attracted 19.41 million visitors in 2016, ahead of London (19.06 million) and Paris (14.87 million).

“Dubai continues to be a must-visit and must-return destination for both business and leisure travellers, and the opening of world-class attractions and venues such as IMG Worlds of Adventure, Dubai Parks and Resorts and Dubai Opera in 2016 enhanced the offering for all visitors, including families,” said Issam Kazim, CEO, Dubai Corporation for Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DCTCM). 

Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi, which grew 18.9 per cent between 2009 and 2016, retained its position as the fastest-growing city in the Middle East and Africa. It is the fourth-fastest growing city globally.

Tourists get at the top of the world to get a birds-eye view of the city from top of the Burj Khalifa or let their minds dance with the world’s largest, musical fountain below.

The largest natural flower garden, "Miracle Garden" (now a Guinness Book of World Records holider) is a draw for tourists — as well as the desert safaris.

Many tourists also appreciate the special care accorded to senior citizens at the immigration services and its record of safety.

The remarkably respectful behaviour of citizens to women is appreciate by most as well ast the polite responses of the Roads and Transport Authority bus drivers to queries of first-time visitors.

Another draw for Dubai is the easy way to move around the city on high quality, wide roads and driverless Metro rides. 

The city’s great tourist attractions, ultimate shopping experiences, a safe and secure environment and world class infrastructure.