South Africa’s most popular city for travellers

A new report lists the most popular cities across the world for travellers – including one city in South Africa which is more popular than the rest.

Johannesburg has been ranked as the 32nd most popular destination in the world by Euromonitor International, based on international traveller statistics for 2014.

According to the group, international arrivals over the 2014 period were heavily influenced by geopolitical tensions.

Despite ups and downs in the ranking, overall, travellers heading towards urban centres increased, highlighting the economic importance of tourism to global cities.

Johannesburg was the only South African listed in the report, drawing 4.77 million visitors over the period – an increase of 5.8% from 2013.

The most popular destinations in the world

# City Country Arrivals (millions)
1 Hong Kong China 27.77
2 London UK 17.38
3 Singapore Singapore 17.09
4 Bangkok Thailand 16.25
5 Paris France 14.98
6 Macau Macau 14.97
7 Shenzhen China 13.12
8 New York USA 12.23
9 Istanbul Turkey 11.87
10 Kuala Lampur Malaysia 11.63
11 Antalya Turkey 11.50
12 Dubai UAE 11.39
13 Seoul South Korea 9.39
14 Rome Italy 8.78
15 Teipei Taiwan 8.62
32 Johannesburg South Africa 4.77

It should be noted that Johannesburg serves as a large economic hub for travellers, both heading to other locations in South Africa and the rest of Africa.

The report makes no distinction between travellers who arrive and stay in Joburg, and those that stop over and head to other cities.

While the report drums up a rosy picture for tourism in 2014, the sentiment changed in 2015.

In 2015, South African tourism was hit by new visa regulations which made it more difficult for people to travel to the country with children.

The regulations, which called for all tourists travelling into the country to carry an original birth certificate, threatened to wipe as much as R4.1 billion from the economy due to lost revenue.

In October, the rules were relaxed a bit, after tourist volumes decreased by almost 10% in the first half of the year. From January to October 2015, 7.2 million travellers landed in South Africa.

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South Africa’s most popular city for travellers