Dubai is named the world's fourth most popular destination by Mastercard
Dubai has kept its position as the fourth most popular travel destination in the world, and the most popular destination in the Middle East, according to the eighth annual Mastercard Global Destinations Cities Index.
Abu Dhabi is the fastest growing city in the Middle East and Africa with a growth rate of 19.81 percent, marking the United Arab Emirates as the most visited and fastest growing country in the region for the second year in a row.
Bangkok was listed as the world’s most popular travel destination, replacing London and beating Paris and New York.
The Mastercard index provides a ranking of the 132 most visited cities around the world, as well as projecting visitor volume and spend estimates for the 2016 calendar year, and providing a deeper understanding of how people travel and spend around the world. Dubai has jumped to the top rank in the index based on international visitor spending of US$31.3 billion, far more than London’s estimated visitor spending of US$19.8 billion.
According to the study, Dubai is expected to have 15.27 million international visitors in 2016, which is an increase of 7.5 percent from 2015. Bangkok is predicted to have 21.47 million visitors in 2016 and Singapore is predicted to have 12.11 million.
The index also determines whether visitors travel for business or leisure, and records how visitors are spending, including dining and shopping. The 2016 index shows that among the top 20 cities, people mainly travel for leisure, except to Shanghai. It also shows that most visitors spent more shopping, apart from in Paris, New York, Barcelona and Amsterdam where dining was the most popular.
“The findings of the Index show that Dubai is firmly entrenched at the high table of global tourism and travel,” said Eyad Al Kourdi, Senior Vice President and General Manager, UAE, Mastercard. “Tourism remains the heartbeat of Dubai’s economy, and the steady rise in visitor numbers indicates how the emirate’s fascinating mix of iconic attractions is proving ever more compelling to today’s international traveler. With marquee events, such as the Expo 2020 looming on the near horizon, one can expect the accolades to keep coming as Dubai looks to make further progress towards its goal of becoming the world’s most visited city within the next five years.”
Issam Kazim, CEO, Dubai’s Corporation for Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DCTCM) said: “Maintaining our position in the Mastercard Global Destinations Cities Index as fourth most popular travel destination in the world demonstrates Dubai’s ongoing commitment to the continued development of our tourism proposition and our efforts to maintain growth in visitor numbers to the emirate. Our strong partnerships between government and private sectors ensure that Dubai’s reputation as a must experience destination continues to drive visitor growth in line with our Tourism Vision for 2020.”
5 minutes with... Janthana Kaenprakhamroy, CEO, Tapoly
Founder and CEO of award-winning insurtech firm Tapoly, Janthana Kaenprakhamroy heads up Europe’s first on-demand insurance platform for the gig economy, winning industry awards, innovating in the digital insurance space, and leading with inclusivity.
Here, Business Chief talks to Janthana about her leadership style and skills.
What do you do, in a nutshell?
I’m founder and CEO of Tapoly, a digital MGA providing a full stack of commercial lines insurance specifically for SMEs and freelancers, as well as a SaaS solution to connect insurers with their distribution partners. We build bespoke, end-to-end platforms encompassing the whole customer journey, but can also integrate our APIs within existing systems. We were proud to win Insurance Provider of the Year at the British Small Business Awards 2018 and receive silver in the Insurtech category at the Efma & Accenture Innovation in Insurance Awards 2019.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I try to be as inclusive a leader as possible. I’m committed to creating space for everyone to shine. Many of the roles at Tapoly are performed by women and I speak at industry events to encourage more people to get involved in insurance/insurtech. Similarly, I always try to maintain a growth mindset. I think it’s important to retain values to support learning and development, like reliability, working hard and punctuality.
What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?
Build your network and seek advice. As a leader, you need smart people around you to help you grow your business. It’s not about personally being the best, but being able to find resources and get help where needed.
How do you see leadership changing in a COVID world?
I think the pandemic has proven the importance of inclusive leadership so that everyone feels supported and valued. It’s also shown the importance of being flexible as a leader. We’ve had to remain adaptable to continue delivering high levels of customer service. This flexibility has also been important when supporting employees as everyone has had individual pressures to deal with during this time. Leaders should continue to embed this flexibility within their organisations moving forward.
They say ‘from every crisis comes opportunity’, what opportunities do you see?
The past year has been challenging, but it has also proven the importance of digital transformation in insurance. When working from home was required, it was much harder for insurers to adjust who had not embedded technology within their operating processes because they did not have data stored in the cloud and it caused communication delays with concerned customers at a time when this communication should have been a priority, which ultimately impacts the level of customer satisfaction. This demonstrates the importance of what we are trying to achieve at Tapoly in driving digitalisation in insurance and making communication between insurers and distribution partners seamless.
What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?
Start sooner, don’t be afraid to take (calculated) risks and make sure you raise enough money to get you through the initial seed stage.