MasterCard Index ranks Africa’s most visited cities

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 percent increase on last year’s 4.1 million visitors. Johannesburg also comes out tops in Africa in terms of international visitor expenditure, with travellers expected to spend a substantial US$3.2 billion in 2014, compared to US$3.06 billion last year.

“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,” says 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. 

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).

According to the City of Johannesburg, the Index rating affirms Johannesburg’s status as a world-class African city that has repeatedly demonstrated its capacity to host major sporting events, global meetings and summits, most recently the fifth biennial C40 Mayors Summit earlier this year.

“The Index rating cements Johannesburg’s position as the economic capital and heartbeat of trade and economic activity on the African continent. We are proud to be the home of most local and multinational companies in banking, finance and industry due to our economic and social infrastructure,” says City of Johannesburg Executive Mayor Councillor Parks Tau.

Trailing Johannesburg by a substantial margin, Cape Town is set to be Africa’s second most visited city. The Mother City is expected to receive 1.6 million international overnight visitors in 2014, who are likely to spend US$2.3 billion. This is a 5.5 percent increase in visitor numbers and an impressive 10 percent increase in spend compared to 2013 (US$2.1 billion).

“This year’s Index points to a continued strong demand for and interest in air travel, both for business and personal reasons. Having Johannesburg and Cape Town in the top two places in Africa is a great achievement for South African tourism,” Elliott says.

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 travellers. 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).

These cities are benefiting from the surge in international travel fuelled by an expanding middle class, innovations in luxury travel and the rising need for business travel.

“The Index recognises cities as important business, cultural and economic hubs. This is where MasterCard comes in. Every day, we help consumers and businesses maximize all of the travel opportunities available to them, including a safe and secure way to pay no matter where they are,” says Elliott.

MasterCard 2014 Global Destination Cities Index– African Cities Ranked by Visitor Numbers

2014 Africa rank

2014 Global rank

Destination City

Country

2013 International Visitors

 

2014 International Visitors

2013

Visitor Spend

(US$)

 

2014

Visitor Spend

(US$)

1

28

Johannesburg

South Africa

4 057 161

4 253 968

$3,06bn

$3,20bn

2

68

Cape Town

South Africa

1 520 444

1 604 234

$2,14bn

$2,25bn

3

75

Cairo

Egypt

1 503 354

1 353 019

$870m

$804m

4

76

Lagos

Nigeria

1 259 106

1 332 300

$684m

$710m

5

85

Casablanca

Morocco

920 677

989 219

$642m

$737m

6

92

Durban

South Africa

863 296

890 178

$669m

$689m

7

94

Accra

Ghana

729 339

842 414

$486m

$561m

8

98

Nairobi

Kenya

568 266

619 506

$281m

$317m

9

99

Dakar

Senegal

587 609

619 413

$371m

$433m

10

101

Entebbe

Uganda

582 276

576 434

$496m

$535m

11

106

Tunis

Tunisia

456 360

427 807

$174m

$170m

12

115

Maputo

Mozambique

252 741

254 255

$25m

$24m

13

132

Beira

Mozambique

11 438

20 786

$1m

$2m

 

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