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JOBURG is the second most visited city in Africa, according to the latest MasterCard Global Destination Cities Index. The survey was released on 11 June, giving figures for visitor numbers and cross-border spend in global cities in 2011. It also predicted trends for 2012.

“This is the second instalment of this MasterCard Index, which is used as a barometer for understanding the global economy and the dynamic flow of commerce across the world,” explained Dries Zietsman, the country manager of MasterCard Worldwide South Africa.

“The index ranks 132 global cities by their total international visitor arrivals and the cross-border spending by visitors in the destination cities. It also forecasts visitor and passenger growth for 2012.”

Joburg was one of 13 African cities on the index. The others were Cairo, Casablanca, Accra, Nairobi, Beira, Cape Town, Dakar, Durban, Kampala, Lagos, Maputo and Tunis. Cairo had the most visitors, while Casablanca came in third.

And the good news doesn’t end there. Joburg is expected to rake in the most money from cross-border spend in 2012. With 2.5 million foreign visitors expected to make their way to Joburg, $3,3-billion (about R27,4-billion) is expected to be injected into the city this year, an increase of 8,1 percent over 2011, when $3.1-billion was spent.

Cairo, with 3,3 million visitors expected this year, is forecast to attract $3-billion in cross-border spend; Casablanca, with an anticipated 2,1 million visitors, is forecast to get $1.9-billion from them.

Most visitors making their way to Joburg originate from London, with 328 000 expected this year, Frankfurt, at 196 000 expected; and Dubai, at 166 500 people expected. Visitors from these three cities alone are expected to inject $975-million into the city’s economy in terms of cross-border spend during 2012.

“The index also reveals the destination cities where those from Johannesburg are travelling to, and it was found that in most cases they are opting for African destinations before they travel overseas,” said Zietsman.

“Four of the top five outbound destinations for Johannesburg travellers are within Africa. Windhoek and Nairobi are the top two outbound travel destinations; London comes in third, followed by Harare and Luanda.”

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