Cape Town - The dedicated traveller review platform TripAdvisor has released it's Top 25 Traveler's Choice global destinations for 2016, showing a massive 10-place drop for the only South African destination on the list.
Cape Town was ranked as the 10th most popular destination in 2015, but now sits in the 20th position, behind Playa del Carmen in Mexico.
The drop coordinates with South Africa's overall drop in tourism for 2015, caused mainly by the implementation of controversial new visa regulations for minor travellers in June last year.
In February this year, SA verification service Grant Thornton said that the 4.9% decline in overseas tourists to South Africa - defined as visitors who are citizens of a country outside of Africa - unfortunately eroded gains achieved in tourism in previous years, especially since the 2010 Soccer World Cup.
The tourism potential of hosting major sporting events is also highlighted in TripAdvisor's 2016 Traveler's Choice destinations. London, which featured in the number six spot on TripAdvisor's 2015 list, jumped to the number one spot in 2016 after the successful hosting of the 2015 Rugby World Cup.
In South Africa, the hosting of the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Durban will be the last for a while, as Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula has suspended the privileges of SA Rugby, Cricket South Africa and Athletics SA from bidding for major international sporting events.
Following the announcement, the Tourism Business Council of South Africa (TBCSA) questioned whether the potential impact the decision could have on South Africa’s economy as a whole had been fully considered – particularly when it comes to inbound tourist arrival growth within the travel and tourism industry.
For 2016, however, South Africa's representative on the global destinations list moved down 10 places, despite a record-breaking December holiday season in the Mother City. In January, Cape Town's visitor numbers went up again, which hopefully starts a ripple effect that will place the country back on the Traveler's Choice global destination Top 10 list for 2017.
Here are the Top 10 Traveler's Choice global destinations for 2016:
1. London, United Kingdom
Want to visit? Also see: A South African's first impressions of London
2. Istanbul, Turkey
Interested in going? Read: A South African's 5 first impressions of Istanbul
3. Marrakech, Morocco
4. Paris, France
5. Siem Reap, Cambodia
Also check out Vietnam on a shoestring budget
6. Prague, Czech Republic
7. Rome, Italy
8. Hanoi, Vietnam
9. New York City, New York
10. Ubud, Indonesia
Another fall from grace on the Traveler's Choice 2016 list can be seen in Buenos Aires in Argentina. The city was listed in last year's number eight spot, but moved to 17th place in 2016.
Apart from London, Paris, Rome and New York, the other six Top 10 places is occupied by fairly new and upcoming tourist destinations. Vietnam, especially, is a hot favourite as it is the only county in the Top 10 and Top 25 list with two cities listed.
If you're headed there, check out Vietnam on a shoestring budget before you go.
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