6 June 2013
Johannesburg is the 20th fastest growing city in the world in terms of international visitor growth rates between 2009 and 2013, according to the latest MasterCard Global Destination Cities Index.
According to the index, released last month, a projected 2.54-million international visitors will visit Johannesburg in 2013 – 53.6% more than in 2009 – injecting around US$2.7-billion into the city’s economy.
These numbers place South Africa’s financial and industrial hub top of the African city rankings for expected visitor numbers in 2013, followed by Lagos, Cairo, Tunis and Casablanca.
Cape Town was ranked 9th in Africa, and Durban 12th.
However, Africa’s cities lag far behind their international competitors: only Johannesburg (42nd) and Lagos (49th) make the top 50, and both are far off the traffic and revenue expected to be generated by the top five cities in 2013.
Bangkok, in top spot, is expected to receive 15.98-million visitors, followed by London (15.96-million visitors), Paris (13.9m), Singapore (11.7m) and New York (11.5m).
“A noticeable trend in this year’s report was the dominance of the Asia/Pacific region,” MasterCard said in a statement. “Of the 132 cities ranked, 42 are Asian countries. Bangkok is followed by Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong, Seoul, Shanghai, Tokyo, and five of the top 10 in 2013 are in the Greater China region.”
MasterCard was upbeat on the state of international travel, saying it was growing strongly despite the persistent weakness of the global economy, and that the world’s most important destination cities stood to benefit hugely from this trend.