Dubai has been named the fourth ranked international travel destination in the world, according to the annual Mastercard Global Destinations Cities Index.

The report, published on Tuesday, showed that only Bangkok, London and Paris ranked above it for overnight visitors from overseas in 2016.

Dubai was also ranked as the city with the highest international overnight visitor spend, amounting to $28.50 billion in 2016.

Abu Dhabi, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 18.9 percent between 2009 and 2016 in its growth of visitors, also retained its position as the fastest growing city in the Middle East and Africa, and is the fourth fastest growing city globally.

Mastercard said Dubai attracted 14.87 million international visitors last year and is forecast to see 7.7 percent growth this year.

From the top 10 cities, only Tokyo is expected to see better growth this year, it added.

Bangkok topped the list, which analysed figures for 132 cities around the world, with 19.41 million visitors, followed by London (19.06 million) and Paris (15.45 million).

Khalid Elgibali, division president for Middle East and North Africa, Mastercard, said: “Dubai’s top rankings in the ninth Mastercard Global Destination Cities Index reaffirms the strength of the emirate as a leading global travel, tourism and shopping destination.

"With its relentless focus on continuously innovating its business and leisure infrastructure and offerings, Dubai continues to reinforce its position on the world map as a highly attractive destination for visitors of all ages and nationalities.”

Issam Kazim, CEO, Dubai Corporation for Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DCTCM), added: “Travel and tourism are among Dubai’s key economic contributors and the city’s strong rankings in the Mastercard Global Destination Cities Index 2017 confirm the effectiveness of partnerships between the government and private sector in driving growth.”

“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.

“With new offerings in 2017 including La Perle, the city’s first permanent theatrical show, and hotels such as Dukes Dubai and Address Boulevard taking the total number of rooms to over 105,000, Dubai has something fresh to offer visitors each time.”

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