14 June 2012

SA cities top-ranked in global commerce and travel index

Johannesburg and Durban are among 132 global cities tipped to enjoy maximum growth in international visitor numbers and spending.

The city of Cape Town The city of Cape Town

This is the second instalment of the MasterCard Global Destination Cities Index, which is used as a barometer for understanding the global economy and the dynamic flow of commerce across the world. - Dries Zietsman, South African Country Manager, MasterCard Worldwide

Above average visitor arrivals, passenger growth and cross-border spending are forecast for destination cities Johannesburg and Durban, according to the MasterCard Global Destination Cities Index 2Q 2011.

The Global Destination Index ranks the world's leading global destination cities based on total international visitor arrivals and cross-border spending by visitors. The Index also forecasts visitor and passenger growth for 2012.

To compile the Index, MasterCard assessed visitor numbers and amounts spent in 132 global destination cities using airline and official trade data. Among other findings, the report measures the economic and business impact of international travel and tracks the resultant flow of commerce across the world.

The report found that international travel is a powerful global economic indicator. It also revealed a shift in the centre of global economic gravity to emerging markets such as Asia, Latin America, Central and Eastern Europe, and Africa.

Based on the Index's regional analysis, the Middle East and Africa (MEA) region enjoyed the 2nd strongest growth in spending by travellers. South Africa, with 3 destinations - Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town - is a key player in the region.

Of the 21 MEA destination cities ranked in the yearly Index, Johannesburg is an increasingly important travel hub, attracting 2.5 million visitors of which 40% originated from London (321 000 visitors), Frankfurt (201 000 visitors), Dubai (199 000), Paris (148 000) and neighbouring Gaborone (141 000).

These travellers spent $3.3 billion, an increase of 14.1% year on year, and helped to position Johannesburg 3rd in the region for visitor arrivals, and 9th in arrivals growth with an increase rate of 9.9% year on year.

In a further boost for the country, the Index reveals that Durban will be the fastest growing city in Africa for both visitor numbers and expenditure.

According to online news source News24.com, Durban is predicted to be the 2nd fastest growing city of all the 132 cities surveyed worldwide, with a projected 33.3% growth in the number of international visitors and 41.3% in visitor expenditure in 2012.