Joburg is expected to receive 4.3-million international visitors spending in the region of US$3.2-billion (about R35.6-billion) in 2014.

Johannesburg is ranked as Africa’s most visited city in the 2014 MasterCard Global Destination Cities Index – the second time running the City has topped the tourist popularity rankings for the continent.

Released on Thursday, MasterCard index ranks 132 cities by number of international visitor arrivals and visitor spending.

“The city of gold’s status as the most popular destination city among visitors to the African continent is significant for the economic prospects of the city,” MasterCard South Africa president Mark Elliott said in a statement, adding: “Visitor spend is an increasingly important source of revenue for the city’s hospitality, retail, transport, sports and cultural sectors.”

Joburg Executive Mayor Parks Tau said the ranking cemented the City’s position as the economic capital and heartland of trade and economic activity in Africa.

“We also believe that visitors continue to flock to Johannesburg because it is a truly cosmopolitan and vibrant destination where various cultures live and celebrate side by side,” Tau said.

According to the index, Johannesburg is set to receive 4.3-million international overnight visitors in 2014, up from 4.1-million in 2013, and to enjoy an international visitor spend of US$3.2-billion (about R35.6-billion).

This is substantially ahead of Africa’s second-placed city, Cape Town, which is expected to receive 1.6-million visitors spending $2.3-billion (about R26-billion) in 2014.

Johannesburg’s top five “feeder cities” for international visitors are London, Frankfurt, Harare, Maputo and Paris – with figures from London expected to increase from 444 000 in 2013 to 458 000 in 2014.

Twelve other African countries are ranked on the index, namely: Cape Town, Durban, Cairo, Casablanca, Accra, Nairobi, Beira, Dakar, Kampala, Lagos, Maputo and Tunis.

London remains the number one City for global travel, according to MasterCard, with a forecast 18.7-million international visitors in 2014, followed by Bangkok (16.4-million), Paris (15.5-million), Singapore (12.4-million) and Dubai (11.9-million).