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Beirut ranks second for visitor spending in region
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BEIRUT: Beirut has the second highest visiting spending levels in the Middle East and Africa, but ranked ninth in the top 10 destination cities in the region, by number of arrivals, followed by Tunis, according to the MasterCard Index of Global Destination Cities.

In its Cross-Border Travel and Expenditures for the second quarter of 2011, MasterCard Index revealed the top 10 destination cities in the Middle East and Africa which are ranked globally in terms of the number of their total international visitor arrivals and cross border spending by these same visitors in the destination cities since the same period in 2010. 

Dubai came in first with $7.8 billion, followed by Beirut with $6.5 billion, Tel Aviv with $3.8 billion, Cairo at $3.7 billion and Johannesburg with $3.3 billion. 

As for the top 10 destination cities in the Middle East and Africa by international visitors, Dubai also came in first with 7.9 million, followed by Cairo with 3.7 million, Johannesburg with 3.0 million, Tel Aviv with 2.7 million and Casablanca with 2.5 million. Beirut ranked ninth with 1.7 million visitors, followed by Tunis with 1.7 million. 

The index also revealed expected visitor arrivals growth rates for the top 10 destination cities in the Middle East and Africa between 2010 and 2011. Beirut’s growth rate is expected to be 13.9 percent, Dubai at 17.3 percent, Cairo at 21.6 percent, Johannesburg with an expected rate of 9.9 percent, and Tel Aviv at 13.8 percent.

The annual report included statistics about North America, Europe, Latin America and Asia. 

Globally, London ranked first by international visitors with 20.1 million tourists in the last year cfollowed by Paris, Bangkok, Singapore and Hong Kong, with Dubai ranking ninth. 


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