Joburg was Africa’s most pop­u­lar des­ti­na­tion last year

The Star Late Edition - - METRO WATCH -

THE CITY OF Joburg has been de­clared Master­card’s most pop­u­lar des­ti­na­tion city in Africa for 2016, fol­lowed by Cape Town.

Joburg Tourism an­nounced this week that this is ac­cord­ing to the an­nual Master­card Global Des­ti­na­tion Cities In­dex. The city, ac­cord­ing to the re­port, wel­comed 4.57 mil­lion in­ter­na­tional overnight vis­i­tors in 2016 – an im­pres­sive 24% in­crease on the pre­vi­ous year’s 3.69 mil­lion vis­i­tors. Cape Town rose from third place in 2015 to be­come the sec­ond-most pop­u­lar African des­ti­na­tion city in that year with 1.52 mil­lion vis­i­tors. La­gos (1.04 mil­lion), Casablanca (961 694), and Cairo (820 959) rounded out the top five African cities, while Dur­ban re­mained in sixth place, at­tract­ing 758 057 in­ter­na­tional overnight vis­i­tors.

Joburg also topped the rank­ings in Africa in terms of in­ter­na­tional vis­i­tor ex­pendi- ture, with trav­ellers spend­ing $2.56 bil­lion (R34.78bn) in 2016. Shop­ping ac­counted for the largest per­cent­age of vis­i­tor spend­ing, fol­lowed by ac­com­mo­da­tion and din­ing out.

“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,” said An­ton van der Merwe, head of mar­ket devel­op­ment at Master­card, South Africa.

“Sig­nif­i­cantly, Joburg also re­ported a 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.”

Ac­cord­ing to the city, the in­dex rat­ing af­firms the city’s po­si­tion as the ma­jor eco­nomic and cul­tural hub in Africa.

“Travel and tourism are in­creas­ingly im­por­tant pil­lars of Joburg’s econ­omy. Growth in this sec­tor is cre­at­ing jobs and pros­per­ity for our res­i­dents,” said Mayor Her­man Mashaba. “Joburg’s malls, restau­rants, con­fer­ences and ex­pos and sport­ing and cul­tural events add up to a com­pelling tourism pack­age that con­tin­ues to at­tract in­ter­na­tional vis­i­tors – from neigh­bour­ing African coun­tries and abroad,” he said.

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