East African cities have missed out in the top tourist destination list in Africa, leaving South Africa’s Johannesburg at the apex for the fourth year in a row.
It is not just Johannesburg that is making headlines in the tourism sector in the country. Cape Town and Durban also remain the most visited African destinations attracting millions of tourists. In turn, this has boosted local tourism and injected billions of dollars into the economy, a new index indicates.
According to the Global Destination Cities Index, now in its seventh year, the South African cities (Johannesburg, Cape Town, and Durban), are predicted to attract about six million visitors by the end of 2016.
In the newly-released MasterCard index, 132 most visited countries in the world were ranked, with 13 African cities featured in the list.
Uganda’s beautiful city, Entebbe was ranked 8, with Kenya’s green city in the sun, Nairobi, coming in at position 10 out of 13. Tanzania and Rwanda, on the other hand, received total blackout. While Tanzania is ranked finest in matters democracy since President John Magufuli took over, and Kigali as Africa’s cleanest city, they failed to feature in the list.
East Africa performed poorly due to failure to tap into new sources of growth, “feeder cities”. The index shows that the “growth trajectories of many of the destination cities are becoming increasingly diverse as they tap into the feeder cities within as well as outside their own region.”
Looking at the juxtaposition of the current top ranked destination cities with the fastest growing ones at both the global and regional levels, there’s a dynamic picture of changing pace and patterns of growth.
Johannesburg, for example, has London, Harare, Frankfurt, Maputo, and Paris as its top five feeder cities. The five provide most tourists to the African city. By the end of 2016 the tourists are expected to spend $1.73 billion. Moreover, “Johannesburg is highly dependent on visitors from within the region, only 18% of its international visitors are from outside of the region.”
Although ranking among the bottom cities, Nairobi saw the highest annual growth at 14.5% followed by Morocco’s Casablanca with 12.3% growth. Beira, Mozambique’s second largest city also grew by 4.7% attracting close to 10,000 people. Cairo came in at position two with 1.55 million visitors.
Globally, Bangkok, London, Paris, Dubai and New York remain the most preferred tourist destinations in the world.
The major challenge in the tourism sector, especially in East and North Africa, is Terrorism and political unrest. The resultant of such upheavals is a stagnated tourism sector.
There is good news, though. The hotel industry in the region is booming, despite the challenges. Up to $1.7 billion is expected to be injected in hotels in Sub-Saharan Africa in 2017.