Polokwane’s a more popular destination than Cape Town, new study suggests

More people visited Polokwane in 2017 than Cape Town according to a study conducted by Mastercard.

The company’s Global Destination Cities Index, published on Tuesday, revealed that Johannesburg was once again the continent’s most popular city.

4.05-million visitors stayed in the city for one night or more in 2017, which places it top of the African cities which made the list.

“On average, international visitors stayed 10.9 nights and spent US$48 per day in Johannesburg, with shopping accounting for more than 50 percent of their total spend,” the report added.

Notably, Polokwane — a city north of Johanensburg and the capital of Limpopo — saw more overnight visitors than Cape Town in 2017. The former seemingly attracted more visitors from Africa though, with 77.7% of its visitors originating from Zimbabwe and 6.9% from Botswana.

Cape Town’s visitors originated mainly from the UK (14.4%), Germany (12.4%), US (10.9%), and France (6.6%). Namibian visitors accounted for 6.2% of visitors to the Cape — the highest share of any African country.

While Polokwane leads Cape Town in terms of visitors, the latter does pull ahead in terms of stay duration and expenditure. Visitors to the latter spent 12.5 nights and US$1.62-billion in 2017. Polokwane visitors spent 4.3 nights on average, with US$760-million spent overall.

Interestingly, Nelspruit (6th) and Bloemfontein (11th) outranked Durban (16th) and Klerksdorp (17th) in the Index. Nelspruit also proved more popular than Lagos and Cairo.

Overall, the Index claimed that Marrakech, Morrocco was Africa’s second most popular city with 3.93-million visitors, while Djerba, Tunisia, was fifth.

Globally, Bangkok was the world’s most popular city, with 20-million visitors. London, Paris, Dubai and Singapore rounded out the top five.

mastercard global destination cities index

Infographic: Mastercard

Feature image: Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane, by Brieuc Saffré via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Andy Walker
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