The Johannesburg Tourism Company’s (JTC) campaign to market the city as a friendly destination is bearing fruit.
According to the MasterCard Global Destination Cities index, the city of gold will be the second most visited in Africa in 2012, with a projected 2,5 million international visitors. Cairo (Egypt) is in top position with 3,3 million expected visitors, while Casablanca (Morocco) is third with 2,1 million projected visitors.
Visitors are expected to spend more while visiting Johannesburg than any other destination in Africa, with a $3,3 billion (about 26 billion) injection expected into the economy this year, an 8.1% rise from 2011.
Spokesperson for JTC Laura Vercueil says they have been hard at work promoting the city.
“We have been out in international media promoting Johannesburg not only as a business and transport hub of the subcontinent, but as a friendly destination with much to offer,” she says.
Among the offerings, Vercueil counts entertainment including art, culture, film, heritage, shopping, beauty and health spas.
JTC has also noted a developing trend where the city is favoured by incentive tour groups. “Businesses are rewarding their top performers by sending them out for a couple of days to play golf and experience the city. Medical professionals from India are increasing taking advantage of these tours,” Vercueil says.
JPC has also been promoting Johannesburg as a destination people can visit all year round and visit for longer periods of time.
Vercueil says the city is also shedding its reputation as an unsafe and dangerous place to be. The revitalisation of the inner city has gone some way in convincing tourists that safety and security are not something to worry about.
This is not the first time Johannesburg has made the index’s top three. “Last year the MasterCard index predicted we would receive 3 million visitors,” Vercueil says.