If the 2.54 million international visitors expected to visit Johannesburg in 2013 materialize, they’ll make it the most popular destination in Africa, according to the third annual MasterCard Global Destination Cities Index.
Lagos takes the No. 2 spot with 2.16 million visitors expected in 2013, and Cairo, with an anticipated 2.08 million international visitors, is third.
Johannesburg’s 53.6 percent growth in international visitors from 2009 to 2013 propelled it into the index’s top 20 fastest-growing cities globally, according to a report in eTurboNews.
Johannesburg is also on track to be No. 1 in Africa for international visitor spending, with $2.7 billion estimated to be spent in the city in 2013.
Home to Africa’s busiest airport and the air transport hub of southern Africa, Johannesburg has grown from strength to strength, says Philip Panaino, division president of MasterCard, South Africa, in the report.
The index ranked the world’s top 132 cities, and it included 13 in Africa: Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban, Cairo, Casablanca, Accra, Nairobi, Beira, Dakar, Kampala, Lagos, Maputo, and Tunis.
The top three cities from which most visitors to Johannesburg originate are London (299,000 people), Frankfurt (187,000 people), and Dubai (157,000 people,) the report says.
Four of the top five outbound destinations for Johannesburg travelers in Africa: Maputo and Harare top the list; London comes in third, followed by Lagos and Windhoek.
Durban, while ranking 12th in Africa, is the second fastest-growing African city in 2013 – behind Dakar – for international visitors, with a projected 26 percent growth in 2013. Air Mauritius has announced that it is reintroducing two direct weekly flights to Durban in July.