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 Dubai continues to climb the ranks as one of the top destinations for international travellers according to the findings of the MasterCard Global Destination Cities Index, released on Wednesday.

Dubai has consistently advanced its position since the launch of the index, ranking eighth in 2012, seventh in 2013, fifth last year and fourth this year. London topped the list in 2015, followed by Bangkok and Paris.

“Since the inception of the Global Destination Cities Index in 2009, Dubai has continued to climb the ranks as an international travel destination for both business and leisure purposes,” said Eyad Al Kourdi, Country Manager – UAE MasterCard.

“The future ranking of the Emirate looks very promising. As Dubai gears towards Expo 2020, we’re excited to see the opportunities that will unfold to reinforce its position as a key economic driver.”

Driven by insights into travel patterns, the Global Destination Cities Index provides a ranking of the 132 most visited cities around the world. More than just a travel tracker, the index delivers deeper understanding of how people move around the world and speaks to the importance and prominence of the world’s cities as homes, destinations and engines of growth.

According to the study, Dubai is expected to receive almost 14.3 million international visitors in 2015, an increase of 8 per cent since 2014. When looking at the number of international overnight visitors that destination cities attract per city resident, Dubai is the world champion with 5.7 visitors per resident (an increase by 0.8 from 2014).

With that in mind, it is no surprise that the city generates more international overnight visitor expenditure per resident than any other city (estimated at $4,668, or Dh17,145).

“We continue to see international visitors and their spending play an increasingly critical role in boosting economic dynamism in destination cities around the world,” explains Dr. Yuwa Hedrick-Wong, global economic advisor to MasterCard. 

“The global economic recovery remains tentative and uneven, and demand for exports continues to be weak. In this context, stronger growth in international visitors and spending can make a significant contribution to income and employment generation for the destination cities.”

Dubai was also ranked as the third air hub in the world by international connectivity and is the only city from the Middle East and Africa (MEA) on the Top 10 air hubs list.