Joburg was Africa’s most popular destination last year
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.