Jozi still most popular city

Sandton Skyline

Johannesburg is set to be the most popular destination city in Africa for the second year, followed by Cape Town, according to the 2014 MasterCard Global Destination Cities Index.

Johannesburg expects 4.3 million international overnight visitors in 2014, a 4.9% increase on last year’s 4.1 million visitors. Johannesburg also comes out tops in Africa in terms of international visitor expenditure, with travelers expected to spend a substantial US$3.2 billion in 2014, compared to US$3.06 billion last year.

“The City of Gold’s status as the most popular destination city among visitors to the African continent is significant for the economic prospects of the city. Visitor spend is an increasingly important source of revenue for the city’s hospitality, retail, transport, sports and cultural sectors,” says Mark Elliott, Division President, South Africa, MasterCard.

Now in its fourth year, the MasterCard Index of Global Destination Cities ranks 132 cities in terms of the number of their total international visitor arrivals and the cross-border spending by these same visitors in the destination cities. It also gives visitor and passenger growth forecasts for 2014. The 13 African cities ranked in the index are Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban, Cairo, Casablanca, Accra, Nairobi, Beira, Dakar, Kampala, Lagos, Maputo and Tunis.

Most visitors to Johannesburg will again travel from London. This year, visitors from that city will increase in number by 3% (444 000 in 2013 compared to 458 000 in 2014). Londoners will spend an estimated US$462 million while in Johannesburg.

Frankfurt (305 000 people), Harare (269 000), Maputo (204 000) and Paris (198 000) round out the top five cities sending visitors to Johannesburg.

Joburg’s Executive Mayor, Parks Tau, says the city welcomes the announcement as it cements its position as the economic capital and the heartland of trade and economic activity in Africa.

"Johannesburg is a global city that is trusted to host major sporting events, meetings and summits. We recently hosted the C40 Cities for Climate Change Summit and will soon host the prestigious Africities Conference - the continent's premier gathering of local authorities in Africa,” Tau elaborates.

Trailing Johannesburg by a substantial margin, Cape Town is Africa’s second most visited city and is expected to receive 1.6 million international overnight visitors in 2014, who are likely to spend US$2.3 billion. This is a 5.5% increase in visitor numbers and an impressive 10% increase in spend compared to 2013 (US$2.1 billion).

Rounding out the top five most visited cities in Africa are Cairo in Egypt (1,35 million visitors spending US$804 million), Lagos in Nigeria (1,33 million visitors spending US$710 million), and Casablanca in Morocco (0,98 million visitors spending US$737 million).

On an international scale, for the third time in four years, London is the destination of choice for travellers. London will receive 18.7 million international visitors in 2014, followed by Bangkok (16.4 million), Paris (15.6 million), Singapore (12.5 million) and Dubai (11.9 million). 


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