Only one sub-Saharan city, Johannesburg, features on this year’s Euromonitor International Top 100 City Destinations 2019 report worldwide in terms of tourism arrivals.

The report, released this month, shows that Johannesburg (ranked 54th out of 100 cities) retained its ranking among the top 100, on account of continued business travel to South Africa.

Further, while leading visitor destinations in the Middle East and Africa are concentrated within the Gulf region, Johannesburg is sixth out of the top 10 cities in this region.

A spokesperson for Joburg Tourism told Tourism Update recently that Johannesburg had also been consistently ranked as the most-visited city in Africa since 2013, according to the MasterCard Global Destination Cities Index.

“Our main source markets remain the US, the UK, Germany and Holland, with China and India indicating the most growth potential,” she said.

Rabia Yasmeen, Senior Analyst at Euromonitor International, highlighted that certain tourism developments and interventions to attract more tourists to Africa, and sub-Saharan Africa in particular, would boost tourism to the continent.

This includes the issuing of visa waivers and the Single Air Transport Market Initiative that aims to improve aviation and transport within the region and uplift the tourism industry on the continent through shared benefits.

“Additionally, many sub-Saharan African countries are capitalising on local experiences and offering customised travel experiences targeting both luxury and family travellers, which is sure to boost tourism,” said Yasmeen.

In compiling the annual report, over 400 cities were researched and the list of the top-100 cities for 2019 is based on 2018 international arrivals. Arrivals are defined as international tourists, i.e. any person visiting another country for at least 24 hours, for a period not exceeding 12 months, and staying in paid or unpaid, collective or private accommodation. Each arrival is counted separately and includes people travelling more than once a year and people visiting several cities during one trip.

Arrivals further encompass all purposes of visit, such as business, leisure and visiting friends and relatives. Arrivals, however, exclude domestic visitors, same-day visitors, people in transit and cruise passengers as this can distort arrivals figures at important border crossings and cruise destinations, respectively. It also excludes those in paid employment abroad. Students that stay in a country for a period of more than 12 months are excluded and are considered as temporary residents.