Dubai: Travellers visiting the UAE spent 4 per cent more last year on their bank cards than in 2017, according to a new report from card company Visa.

The company said this indicated a positive uptick in the local economy.

Between January and December 2018, the report shows international Visa cardholders spent Dh22.8 billion with their cards while visiting the UAE in 2018, a 4 per cent year-on-year increase.

The total number of Visa card transactions by visitors to the UAE also grew by 22 per cent when compared to the previous year.

“Transactions growing much faster than spend suggests the UAE’s increasing appeal as a leading global destination for both mass and niche tourism,” said Shahebaz Khan, Visa’s general manager in the UAE.

“The UAE dirham being pegged to the US dollar, which saw strong performance in most of 2018, made the UAE more expensive for international travellers during the period we looked at for this report,” he added. “Despite this, the UAE remained an attractive tourist destination for international travellers.”

In terms of top source markets, visitors from Saudi Arabia, the United States, United Kingdom, China, Russia, Kuwait, India, Oman, Bahrain and Australia accounted for 68 per cent of the total tourism spend.