Forbes Middle East
Forbes Middle East

Travel & Hospitality

The 9 Most Visited MENA Cities In 2019

Samar Khouri
The 9 Most Visited MENA Cities In 2019

Euromonitor International recently revealed its Top 100 City Destinations ranking for 2019, naming Hong Kong as 2019’s most visited city in the world, with 26.7 million visitors, despite the political unrest and ongoing anti-government protests. It is followed by Bangkok (25.8 million), Macau (20.6 million), and London (19.5 million) based on visitor arrivals this year, with New York slipping out of the top ten for the first time since 2013.

The key source markets are Saudi Arabia, India, France, the U.K., and Germany. In total, 43 Asian countries found themselves in the top 100, with Europe remaining the second-most-popular region for travelers.

The MENA region continues to pose stable growth, with the following nine cities making the list.

Dubai, U.A.E.
Expected visitors in 2019: 16.3 million

Adding to its lists of numerous achievements, Dubai continues to take the lead in the region in terms of international arrivals. It is the only city in the Middle East to rank in the top 10, landing in seventh place and beating popular cities like New York, Kuala Loompa, and Istanbul.

Mecca, Saudi Arabia
Expected visitors in 2019: 9.8 million

Saudi Arabia has been bringing in wide-ranging changes this year, including introducing a new visa scheme to attract more international leisure visitors.

Medina, Saudi Arabia
Expected visitors in 2019: 8.8 million

The second city in Saudi Arabia to make it on the top 100 list, landing three places below Mecca. It saw a slight decline in the number of arrivals in 2018 compared to 2017, but this year numbers have been increasing.

Cairo, Egypt
Expected visitors in 2019: 6.8 million

In North Africa, Egypt is the leading destination for tourists following its tourism reform program, with Cairo named as the most-visited city in the country. Known for its historic sites and strong investment in infrastructure, it jumped eight places to 42nd place on the ranking this year.

Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Expected visitors in 2019: 5.45 million

Just behind Madrid and Ha Long comes Riyadh, Saudi Arabia’s third most-visited city globally. Riyadh is now investing in greater entertainment venues and events, such as the Riyadh Season festival.

Hurgada, Egypt
Expected visitors in 2019: 3.8 million

Hurgada climbed 45 places to land at number 82 and is the second most-visited city in Egypt. Hurgada is expecting to see a 41% growth during this year for its infrastructure improvement.

Dammam, Saudi Arabia
Expected visitors in 2019: 3.58 million

The 64th most-visited city in the world has seen the number of visitors steadily rise, from 3.49 million in 2017.

Marrakech, Morocco
Expected visitors in 2019: 3 million

Marrakech—at number 75 on the list—is the only city in Morocco to land on the list. It managed to rank higher than cities such as Auckland, Kolkatta, and Cebu.

Abu Dhabi, U.A.E
Expected visitors in 2019: 2.5 million

The capital city, and second-most visited emirate in the UAE, recently achieved a Guinness World Record for serving the largest variety of desserts at Umm Al Emarat Park.

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