Joburg most visited African city: Index

By Drum Digital
06 November 2014

Johannesburg remained Africa's most visited city, according to MasterCard's Global Destination Cities Index released on Thursday.

"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," MasterCard's South Africa division president Mark Elliott said in a statement.

"Visitor spend is an increasingly important source of revenue for the city's hospitality, retail, transport, sports and cultural sectors."

According to the index, Johannesburg expected 4.3 million international overnight visitors in 2014, compared to last year's 4.1m visitors.

International visitors were expected to spend around R35.6 billion (US3.2bn) compared to around R34bn last year.

This was the second time Johannesburg topped the list. Cape Town was the second most visited city.

The index ranked 132 cities in terms of the number of internal visitor arrivals and cross-border spending by these visitors in the destination cities.

Thirteen African cities were ranked in the index: Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban, Cairo, Casablanca, Accra, Nairobi, Beira, Dakar, Kampala, Lagos, Maputo and Tunis.

Most visitors to Johannesburg travelled from London.

The number of visitors from London was expected to increase by three percent from 444,000 last year to 458,000 this year.

Londoners would spend around R5.1bn (US458m) which was around R223m (US20) less than 2013.

Frankfurt, Harare, Maputo and Paris were the other top cities sending visitors to Johannesburg.

Cape Town was expected to receive 1.6m international visitors this year, who were likely to spend around R26bn (US2.3bn).

This was a 5.5 percent increase of visitors and a 10 percent increase in spending compared to last year.

"This year's index points to a continued strong demand for and interest in air travel, both for business and personal reasons," Elliott said.

"Having Johannesburg and Cape Town in the top two places in Africa is a great achievement for South African tourism."

-SAPA

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