Johannesburg is the only sub-Saharan city to feature in 2019’s Euromonitor International Top 100 City Destinations. This is a worldwide report which covers tourism arrivals.
Johannesburg a magnet for business travellers
The report indicates that Johannesburg ranked 54th out of 100 cities and retained its ranking among the top 100 on account of continued business travel to South Africa.
Africa is grouped together with the Middle East in this report, with most of the leading visitor destinations being in the Gulf region. In terms of its group rating, Johannesburg is rated as the sixth out of 10.
Johannesburg has been one of Africa’s most visited cities over the past few years, according to the MasterCard Global Destination Cities Index. With this, the city is presented with the opportunity to increase its mark and grow within the sector.
Africa’s untapped potential
Euromonitor International senior analyst and author of this report Rabia Yasmeen noted that certain developments and interventions in tourism would attract more tourists to Africa. This applies in particular to sub-Saharan Africa, as other cities have the potential to be named alongside Johannesburg.
Such developments include the waivers on visas and the Single Air Transport Market Initiative to improve aviation and transport within the region. The continent will reap the rewards from the shared benefits where there is growth in the tourism industry in African countries.
“Additionally, many sub-Saharan African countries are capitalising on local experiences and offering customised travel experiences targeting both luxury and family travellers,” said Yasmeen.
“There is greater investment in the tourism sector, with governments focusing on developing regional alliances and offering flexible visa policies.”
South Africa has recently made changes to visa processes, from the development of e-visa’s, to the scrapping of unabridged birth certificates for minors and the wavering of visas for various countries.
“In North Africa, Egypt remains the leading destination following an active tourism reform strategy. Sharm-el-Sheikh, Hurgada, Cairo, Alexandria and Luxor have all seen strong growth, with the return of visitors from the UK and Russia,” said Yasmeen.
Top 100 City Destinations
The 2019 report is based on international arrivals from the preceding year. More than 400 cities were analysed before the top 100 were identified, with Johannesburg being the only of its region to make the list.
Arrivals are defined as international tourists, meaning any person visiting another country for between 24 hours and 12 months. Each arrival is counted individually, is inclusive of people travelling more than once a year and people visiting several cities during one trip. This is regardless of the purpose of the visit, whether it be for business or leisure. The data excludes temporary residents, which are long-term students, those who are paid employees abroad, anyone visiting on a layover and domestic visitors.
In terms of other cities, Yasmeen says “Mauritius has always been popular among leisure visitors for its beaches. However, as the government improves investment on other economic fronts to improve employment and enhance infrastructure, business travel to Mauritius is forecast to grow.”
Johannesburg continues to be an increasingly popular choice for international travellers, particularly within the business travel sector. With this growth, the city will set its sights on retaining its name on the list in 2020.