Dubai Mall is the world's most visited shopping destination for the second year running, claiming to be more popular than New York last year.
Dubai Mall says visits up by 20 per cent
The Dubai Mall is the world's most visited shopping and leisure destination for the second year running, according to its owner Emaar Properties.
Visitor numbers rose by 20 per cent to 65 million people last year, making it more popular on a per-visitor basis than New York City, which welcomed 52 million people, and Los Angeles at 41 million, the developer said.
It did not offer any independent verification of its claim.
In addition retail sales rose by almost a quarter at 24 per cent last year compared to the previous year, said the developer.
"The visitor footfall to The Dubai Mall has exceeded our expectations every year since its opening in 2008, and in 2012 we marked another landmark by welcoming 65 million visitors," said Mohamed Alabbar, the chairman of Emaar Properties.
He said the figures were testament to the mall's evolution as the city's "must visit" tourist and retail hub. "Significantly, the strong footfall also reiterates the economic impact of our flagship mall development by creating several thousand new jobs every year and supporting the trade and logistics sector of Dubai, which are key contributors to the economy."
The mall, the largest shopping centre in the world, features more than 1,200 stores, a skating rink, large aquarium and an indoor theme park, in addition to a direct link to Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest building.
An air-conditioned walkway linking the second floor of the mall to Burj Khalifa Metro station opened late last year, while a project to expand the mall by a further million square feet to include a new shopping boulevard, residences and hotels is under way.
The Dubai Mall may claim to be the world's most visited shopping centre, but it is not the most lucrative. The complex was outranked by Mall of the Emirates, also located in Dubai, in a list of the world's 15 most productive malls by the International Council of Shopping Centers.
Mall of the Emirates was found to be almost three times more profitable than the industry average, earning more than US$1,400 (Dh5,142) per square foot and was the only Middle East mall to make the index.