Cape Town - According to the annual Mastercard Global Destination Cities Index, Johannesburg comes out on top as the most popular destination in Africa.
The City of Gold welcomed 4.57 million international overnight visitors, which is a 24% increase from visitors in 2015. 78% of visitors come from the Middle East Africa region, though Mozambique is the country that sent the most visitors to Johannesburg.
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The South African city also ranked number one in terms of most international visitor spending. Travellers spent $2.56 billion in the city in 2016, with most of it spent on shopping.
“The City of Gold has shown the highest year-on-year growth in visitor numbers of all the African cities ranked in the 2016 index, illustrating that its mix of shopping, iconic attractions and tourism offerings is clearly hitting the mark with international travellers,” says Anton van der Merwe, Head of Market Development at Mastercard, South Africa.
“Significantly, Jo’burg also reported 4% increase in international expenditure from 2015 – much greater than South Africa’s GDP growth of 0.3% in 2016. This indicates that Johannesburg is well positioned to be an engine of broad economic growth for the country,” says Van der Merwe.
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“Travel and tourism are increasingly important pillars of Johannesburg’s economy, with growth in this sector creating jobs and prosperity for our residents,” says City of Johannesburg Executive Mayor Councillor Herman Mashaba.
Cape Town and Durban
Cape Town rose up from third place on the continent to second place behind Johannesburg, with 1.52 million visitors, and Durban came in sixth place with 758 057 travellers. However, Cape Town attracted more long-haul visitors, the largest proportion coming from UK, US, Germany and the Netherlands.
In Cape Town visitors spent $1.2 billion in the year, and in Durban travellers splurged $314 million. The other top five African cities are Lagos in Nigeria, Casablanca in Morocco and Cairo in Egypt.
The Mastercard Global Destination Cities ranks the top 132 cities in the world in terms of traveller volume and how much they spend in a year. The other African destination cities that are ranked include Accra, Dakar, Entebbe, Tunis, Nairobi, Maputo and Beira.
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In the world, the top five cities are Bangkok (19.4 million visitors), London (19.06 million visitors), Paris (15.45 million), Dubai (14.87 million visitors) and Singapore (13.11 million visitors).
Dubai however is number one when it comes to spending, amounting to $28.50 billion spent by international visitors.
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