Joburg beats Cape Town in terms of international tourist numbers: report

28 September 2017 - 15:33 By Staff reporter
Johannesburg skyline, photographed from Observatory.
Johannesburg skyline, photographed from Observatory.
Image: BRETT STEELE

Jozi takes the crown as SA's most visited city, according to the 2017 edition of the Mastercard Global Destination Cities Index. 

This annual report ranks 132 cities according to the total number of international overnight visitors during the course of a year.

While South Africa failed to make it into the global top 10 list, it did feature twice in the regional top 10 list for the Middle East and Africa.

Dubai topped the regional leaderboard with a whopping 14.87 million international overnight visitors in 2016. This put the UAE's largest city streaks ahead of Johannesburg, which came in second place with 4.57 million visitors. Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, which had 4.43 million visitors, rounded out the top three. 

With 1.52 million overnight visitors in 2016, Cape Town ranked number 6 on the list.

Dubai also dominated in terms of overall tourist spend. Last year visitors to the city spent an eye-popping $28.5-billion. In comparison, visitors to Johannesburg spent $2.56-billion, and to Cape Town, $1.26-billion.

Here are the top 10 cities in the Middle East and Africa region according to the Mastercard Destination Cities Index 2017: 

  1. Dubai, UAE - 14.87 million visitors in 2016
  2. Johannesburg, South Africa - 4.57 million visitors in 2016
  3. Riyadh, Saudi Arabia - 4.43 million visitors in 2016
  4. Abu Dhabi, UAE - 2.98 million visitors in 2016
  5. Tehran, Iran - 1.64 million visitors in 2016
  6. Cape Town, South Africa - 1.52 million visitors in 2016
  7. Beirut, Lebanon - 1.22 million visitors in 2016
  8. Amman, Jordan - 1.08 million visitors in 2016
  9. Lagos, Nigeria - 1.04 million visitors in 2016
  10. Tel Aviv, Israel - 0.99 million visitors in 2016

Here are the global top 10 cities in the Mastercard Destination Cities Index 2017: 

  1. Bangkok, Thailand - 19.41 million visitors in 2016 
  2. London, England - 19.06 million visitors in 2016 
  3. Paris, France - 15.45 million visitors in 2016
  4. Dubai, UAE - 14.87 million visitors in 2016 
  5. Singapore - 13.11 million visitors in 2016
  6. New York, USA - 12.70 million visitors in 2016
  7. Seoul, South Korea - 12.39 million visitors in 2016 
  8. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia - 11.28 million visitors in 2016
  9. Tokyo, Japan - 11.15 million visitors in 2016
  10. Istanbul, Turkey - 9.16 million visitors in 2016 

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