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Life & Style

Dubai, Doha, London among top cities where international travellers loved to splurge in 2022

  • World Travel and Tourism Council's list puts traveller-spending at whopping $29.4 billion in Dubai
Published May 30, 2023

The top ten cities in 2022 that travellers loved to splurge in was recently released by the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC).

The list compiled cities that offer plenty five- and seven-star hotels, Michelin-star restaurants, luxury retail outlets, and other premium experiences that wealthy travellers are accustomed to.

Dubai topped the list of such cities, followed by Doha, London, Macau, and Amsterdam. These were followed by Istanbul, Barcelona and New York, and then Singapore and Paris.

 Design: Hussain Afzal
Design: Hussain Afzal

Dubai retains position as world’s top destination for tourism FDI in 2021


From the Burj Khalifa, currently the world’s tallest building, to the mega-malls, and the recently awarded Michelin-starred restaurants, Dubai offers plenty extravagant experiences for international visitors.

The city’s reputation for tax-free, high-end shopping and its commitment to providing a luxurious experience has made it a top travel destination for luxury shoppers around the world.

Location is another factor in the city’s success. Dubai sits at the natural crossroads between Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East, and is home to one of the world’s busiest, well-connected airports.

International travellers spent close to $30 billion in the city in 2022.

Dubai cements position as gastronomy hub, gears up for Michelin stars


The newly-minted football city made a huge push for tourism, as witnessed by the recent FIFA World Cup.

Qatar’s glitzy World Cup is ready and expensive

Prior to playing host city, Qatar invested heavily in building adequate city infrastructure and inviting investments from leading global hoteliers and restaurants.

Qatar recently became home to new outposts of high-end eateries such as LPM, Zuma, Cipriani along with the Four Seasons Resort and Andaz Doha. International travellers spent nearly $17 billion in the city in 2022.

Hey big spenders: Qatar woos the rich with luxury World Cup


London has long been a preferred location for the ultra-wealthy to park their wealth and as a result, the city has an abundance of amenities for well-heeled travellers.

For one, London is home to more five star hotels than any other city. The city also offers high net-worth travellers access to a wide range of high-end retailers, world class restaurants, as well as museums, galleries and landmarks.

The UK’s largest city also sees a high overall volume of tourists, which adds to the $16 billion global visitors spent in the city in 2022.


Known as the Las Vegas of Asia, Macau’s gambling hub has been a magnet for international tourists for years. However, as the city began re-imagining its tourism strategies post-pandemic, it has grown stronger as an international tourist destination.

Outside tourists brought in $15.6 billion in 2022, and that number is only expected to multiply further over the next decade. This growth is being fueled by China and Hong Kong, which account for a large proportion of visits.


With its excellent selection of luxury shopping, world-class museums and stunning sights this city comes in fifth place for its offerings.

Home to the Van Gogh Museum, Museum van Loon, accompanied by world class dining and nightlife – Amsterdam is home to a whopping 23 Michelin starred restaurants and international travellers spent more than $13 billion here in 2022.


This fabulous city bridging Asia and Europe via the Bosphorous has plenty to offer and is popular with the jet set. This evidenced by the gleaming yachts parked at the harbour while luxury hotels accompany the plenty historic and grand palaces all over the city. Travellers spent more than $13 billion here in 2022.

Driven by the cultural and culinary influences of ancient Greeks, Romans, Venetians and the Ottomans, the gastronomic scene in Istanbul is equally vibrant and colorful, spanning traditional and continental cuisine with plenty high-end restaurants offering glittering views of the Bosphorous.

For those inclined in immersing themselves in Ottoman history there is the grand Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace, Istanbul Modern, and many stunning mosques throughout the city.


Home to stunning baroque architecture, fine tapas and excellent shopping, the city offers access to plenty UNESCO World Heritage sites and proximity to the Mediterranean Sea.

Gaudi’s plentiful architecture such as the famed Sagrada Familia are only one of such sites to take in. The Mandarin Oriental offers a helicopter tour of some Barcelona taking in the city’s main attractions before heading off to the impressive mountains of Montserrat as well as Catalonia.

Many world-class chefs serve up the finest cuisine at several Michelin restaurants in the city, and it is no surprise that travellers spent over $12 billion in 2022.

New York

Home to some of the most expensive real estate in the world, this tiny island is home to some of the world’s most unique food, art and shopping. There really is no place like New York, as residents would say.

There is the magnificent and famed Fifth Avenue, home to several blocks of some of the best department store and designer stores in the world.

Bergdorf Goodman, Saks Fifth Avenue and of course the newly-refurbished Tiffany Flagship - yes the same one as in ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’ reside here. Around the corner sits the iconic Plaza Hotel, Central Park, the MET, MOMA, the famed Mandarin Oriental and much more.

Tiffany, now owned by LVMH, reopens on a Fifth Avenue in flux

New York is also home to Broadway – the famed theatre district, with its world-class productions. These including classics such as Hamilton, Moulin Rough! and the long-running and recently closed Phantom of the Opera.

Michelin star restaurants are aplenty as well as celebrity haunts such as Ralph Lauren’s notoriously waitlisted restaurant, The Polo Bar. With no shortage of sights to see or places to visit, travellers spent nearly $12.5 billion here in 2022.


One of Southeast Asia’s most vibrant destinations, this tiny metropolis lies at the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula and north of some of Indonesia’s most exclusive islands.

The modern and traditional city promises an exciting and luxurious experience for elite travelers. A melting pot of modern Asia, Singapore has been settled by Chinese, Europeans, Malays and Indians, the city offers a rich history and high quality of life for all those who live and visit.

The Singapore Grand Prix is one of the most expensive in the world and the city is not unfamiliar to unique experiences. World class shopping malls and designer boutiques are accompanied by cutting-edge technology on offer.

It recently also became a welcome respite for many Chinese high net-worth individuals looking to escape draconian Covid lockdowns and a clampdown on their wealth.

International travellers spent more than $10 billion in the city in 2022.

Disillusioned at home, super-rich Chinese set their sights on Singapore


Home to the elegant Versailles Palace, the Arc de Triomphe, the Louvre, famed French couturiers, fine French dining and so much more. International travellers spent a grand sum of over $9 billion in the city in 2022.

Luxury travelers will have no trouble settling right in at plenty five-star hotels such as Le Meurice, The Peninsula and The Four Seasons among others.

For shopping there is Avenue Montaigne, the Champs-Élysées, the famed Galeries Lafayette and so much more.

The city is also home to Fondation Louis Vuitton, an art museum sponsored by LVMH, Musée Yves Saint Laurent and the newly-opened The Bourse de Commerce, housing the art collection of the founder of luxury conglomerate Kering, François Pinault.


Comments are closed.

test May 30, 2023 10:28pm
As a Pakistani I would say Pakistan must become the top travel destination for Chinese. I am definitely sure Chinese people will love to visit Pakistan given the right facilities and priorities to them. China enjoys a good picture in Pakistan and Pakistan enjoys a good picture in China. Chinese media must highlight the touristic places in Pakistan, cultural sites, tradition, delicious food. In short just try to convice Chinese and they will definitely come to Pakistan in big numbers. Always makre sure one thing that Pakistan has the state of the art infrastructure and facilities for tourists and one last thing that matters is gdp per capita both in terms of nominal and ppp. Tourists will definitely go to places which are rich financially because those tourists with heavy pockets always want to spend.
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MaiKolachi May 31, 2023 03:36pm
Dubai and London are the heavens for the black money!
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Abdullah May 31, 2023 04:50pm
London.who in therr right mind wants to go there.No one wants to be robbed day light .I gues thats what we pakistanis are escaping from. Dubai is the place to go.
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Rebirth Jun 01, 2023 02:26am
Our aviation and hospitality industries did not take advantage of the post-2001 global, nonsensical anti-Muslim Christian Crusade spearheaded by America. Emirates, Etihad, Qatar, Turkish, Saudia and Malaysian airlines grew dramatically. Tourism also skyrocketed there. We barely built any infrastructure in our own country for our own tourists. In the past few years, we were told to focus on hitchhiking, camping and other activities from Rudyard Kipling’s books. It snows in all of our provinces. Even Dadu in Sindh. Winter Tourism for Arab and African elites, as a relief from the scorching heat, would’ve put us in direct competition with European tourist hot spots that have remained busy throughout this time because of high temperatures in some Muslim nations, with the exception being Turkiye. These nations built on their success after COVID. We have had zero success so we have to start from scratch. We need to stop consulting low standard “Western” countries for winter sports as a start.
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