As nationalism rises across the world, international travel takes on greater importance and in Mastercard’s 2018 Index, Nairobi is among the leading sub-Saharan Africa destinations.
Mastercard’s Global Destination Cities Index, for the past decade, has been offering important analysis of travel to and within cities.
This year’s global top cities Bangkok, London and Paris, leading the pack, once again underscoring the importance of robust infrastructure and both business and leisure attractions. The top Sub Saharan cities this year; Lagos, Dakar, Kampala, Nairobi, and Accra underscored the importance of a strong local culture.
The 2018 Index which expanded to look at global 162 cities, is not simply a ranking of the top travel destinations. Based on visitor volume and spend for the 2017 calendar year, the in-depth analysis also provides a growth forecast for 2018 and—for the first time—a view into average length of stay and amount spent per day.
With the global economy buzzing, the annual growth of international overnight visitors to the Top 10 destination cities was up across the broad in 2017 except for Seoul, which saw a dip.
The forecast for 2018 indicates across-the-board growth, with Istanbul expecting the largest uptick in visitors. In Sub-Saharan Africa, the annual growth of international overnight visitors to Dakar, Nairobi, and Accra remained static at 0.8 million in Dakar and 0.4 million in both Nairobi and Accra.
With roughly 20 million international overnight visitors, Bangkok remains in the top spot this year and is unlikely to be best due to a strong projected growth of 9.6 percent for 2018. Paired with both the affordability and visitor’s willingness to spend, Bangkok is seen as more affordable than Paris or Singapore but pricier than London, which holds the No. 2 spot.
Lagos is the top spot in Sub-Saharan Africa this year, with roughly 1.5 million international overnight visitors. Interestingly, visitors tend to stay in Lagos for seven nights and spend an average of 57 US dollars per day, considerably less than its Sub Saharan Africa counterparts. Visitors to Lagos, are most often from the USA, United Kingdom, and China.