Around 60 per cent of mall visitors last year were UAE residents and other GCC tourists while the remaining 40 per cent were tourists from across the world.
The Dubai Mall saw almost 80 million visitors last year, up almost seven per cent from 75 million visitors in 2013.
Visitor numbers also exceeded the footfall figures achieved by the world’s most popular tourist destinations and busiest airports in 2014, the mall operator Emaar said in a statement.
Around 60 per cent of The Dubai Mall visitors last year were UAE residents and other GCC tourists. The remaining 40 per cent were tourists from outside the region.
The mall also claimed that it has sustained the title of the world’s most-visited lifestyle destination, surpassing major hotspots across the world.
The visitor numbers recorded in the mall last year were higher than the 2014 footfall figures in New York’s Times Square, Niagara Falls, Central Park, Washington DC‘s Union Station, Orlando-based Disneyworld’s Magic Kingdom and Paris’s Eiffel Tower among others.
Emaar Malls added that the contribution of The Dubai Mall to the emirate’s retail sector is estimated to be around five per cent of Dubai’s GDP.
Meanwhile sales across the mall’s 1,200 retail stores and 200 food and beverage outlets grew 14 per cent last year.
“No other global tourist destination or even airports, which traditionally have the highest footfall, have achieved the significant visitor arrivals The Dubai Mall recorded,” said Mohamad Alabbar, chairman of Emaar Malls.
“With wholesale and retail accounting for nearly 30 per cent of Dubai’s real GDP, The Dubai Mall continues to make a sterling contribution to our city’s diversified economic growth.”
The mall also enjoyed high social media engagement over the last year, becoming one of the top 10 geo-tagged locations globally on Instagram while garnering 1.5 million fans on Facebook. The Dubai Mall also has 250,000 followers in Twitter and is the fastest growing profile in the country.
The Dubai Mall’s footfall figures come on the heels of the recent listing of Emaar’s Malls Unit in Dubai Financial Market. The developer Emaar sold 15.4 per cent of the unit in September, raising $1.6 billion after a heavy subscription.
Dubai’s mega mall operators have been thriving due to a growth in consumer spending boom, a relatively young population and attractive tax regimes for retailers.
Recently, UAE-based retail firm Majid Al Futtaim reported a pre-tax profit of 10 per cent to reach Dhs3.6 billion in 2014. The retail conglomerate said that its revenues grew 11 per cent to reach Dhs25 billion.