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 had approximately 4.3 million international overnight visitors in 2014, a 4.9 percent increase on last year’s 4.1 million visitors. Johannesburg also comes out tops in Africa in terms of international visitor expenditure, with travelers who spent a substantial $3.2 billion in 2014, compared to $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.
“The City of Johannesburg welcomes the announcement as it cements our City’s position as the economic capital and the heartland of trade and economic activity in Africa,” says Executive Mayor Clr Parks Tau. “We are proud to be the home of most local and multinational companies in banking, finance and industry due to our world-class economic and social infrastructure which is essential to big business.”
“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. “We also believe that visitors continue to flock to Johannesburg because, beyond business and meetings, it is a truly cosmopolitan and vibrant destination where various cultures live and celebrate side by side; A City rich in music, fashion, arts, heritage and culture.”
Trailing Johannesburg by a substantial margin, Cape Town is set to be Africa’s second most visited city. The Mother City is expected to receive 1.6 million international overnight visitors in 2014, who are likely to spend $2.3 billion. This is a 5.5 percent increase in visitor numbers and an impressive 10 percent increase in spend compared to 2013 ($2.1 billion).