Joburg is the most popular destination in Africa

 ·6 Nov 2014
Joburg city

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.

Globally, Johannesburg ranks as the 28th most visited city in 2014, beating any other African city by some margin.

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.

Top destinations in Africa

# City Country 2014 International Visitors 2014 Visitor Spend (US$)
1 Johannesburg South Africa 4,253,968 $3,20 billion
2 Cape Town South Africa 1,604,234 $2,25 billion
3 Cairo Egypt 1,353,019 $804 million
4 Lagos Nigeria 1,332,300 $710 million
5 Casablanca Morocco 989,219 $737 million
6 Durban South Africa 890,178 $689 million
7 Accra Ghana 842,414 $561 million
8 Nairobi Kenya 619,506 $317 million
9 Dakar Senegal 619,413 $433 million
10 Entebbe Uganda 576,434 $535 million
11 Tunis Tunisia 427,807 $170 million
12 Maputo Mozambique 254,255 $24 million
13 Beira Mozambique 20,786 $2m

“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,” said 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 three percent (444,000 in 2013 compared to 458,000 in 2014).

Londoners will spend an estimated US$462 million while in Johannesburg, US$20 million less than they did in 2013, MasterCard said.

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

Parisians are expected to spend the most (US$337 million), followed by visitors from Frankfurt (US$159 million), Harare (US$140 million), and Maputo (US$115 million).

Cape Town is set to be Africa’s second most visited city, according to the index, with  1.6 million international overnight visitors expected 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).

For the third time in four years, London is the destination of choice for travelers. 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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