If you had to make an educated guess as to what the most visited place in the world is, what would you choose? There are some obvious choices of course. For instance, the Eiffel Tower seems like a good bet, as does Disney World, or New York’s Time Square. But according to a new report, that distinction goes to a somewhat surprising location. One that easily gains more visitors on an annual basis than those other three iconic places.
The sprawling and opulent Dubai Mall now holds the distinction of being the most visited place in the world. It boasts more than 75 million visitors on an annual basis, which easily beats the 6.7 million that go to the Eiffel Tower, or the 39 million that pass through Times Square year in and year out. It even out paces Disney World, which sees approximately 48 million visitors pass through its gates annually.
For dedicated shoppers, it is easy to see why the mall is such is a big draw. It features more than 1200 stores spread out across its 5.9 million square feet of retail space, which puts it on par with the famous West Edmonton Mall. It also includes an Olympic size ice skating rink, a massive aquarium and underwater zoo, and an indoor amusement park made up of more than 150 games and other attractions. A 22-screen movie megaplex, a 10,000 square foot candy store and the world’s largest shoe store all add to the list of impressive features for shoppers to enjoy.
The mall first opened in Dubai’s downtown area back in 2008 after multiple delays and years in development. It cost more than $20 billion to build and employs more than 20,000 people, 100 of which are dedicated just to the overnight cleaning crew who are tasked with keeping the place spotless.
The first year that it opened, the mall immediately became the most popular shopping and leisure destination in the world, drawing more than 54 million visitors. The traffic has only continued to increase since then, reaching the 75 million mark this past year. To put that massive number further into perspective, consider this: the United Arab Emirates, as a nation, has a population of less than 10 million.
Have you ever traveled specifically to go shopping? Would you ever make a trip just to visit a massive shopping mall? In order to see everything that the Dubai Mall has to offer, it would take several days at least. It would probably be quite the experience however, with hundreds of unique stores, great restaurants and other attractions to explore. I personally prefer my travel experiences to revolve around outdoor activities, but this does sound like an impressive building none the less.