Lagos ranks high among the most visited cities in Africa


Lagos has been ranked as the most visited city in sub-Sahara Africa according to MasterCard’s Global Destination Cities Index recently. MasterCard is a technology company in the global payments industry.

According to, Lagos top the list of cities in the ranking with 1.5 million international visitors overnight in 2017 spending $57 on average per day, with Darker and Kampala having 0.8 million and 0.5 million visitors and $165 and $168 spent respectively.

According to a communiqué from the organisation, MasterCard has offered analysis of travel to and within cities, and 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.

While this year’s top Sub Saharan cities Lagos, Dakar, Kampala, Nairobi and Accra underscore the importance of a strong local culture.

“The MasterCard Index, which expanded this year 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,” the communiqué read.

Kampala which came third after Lagos and Dakar received 0.5 million overnight visitors in 2017, who spent an average length of seven nights and spent an average of $168 per day.

Nairobi which came fourth after Kampala received 0.4 million overnight visitors, who spent an average length of 13 nights and spent an average of $50 per day.

Dubai continues to be the top ranking destination city based on overnight visitor spend, with visitors spending a whopping $537 per day on average.

It is joined in the Top 10 with newcomers Makkah, Saudi Arabia, Palma de Mallorca, Spain, and Phuket, Thailand. Interestingly, Nairobi, thought of as a tourist hotspot of Africa, comes in with the lowest spend per day in the region at only $50 on average.

The bar is rising for cities to innovate to provide both a memorable and authentic experience,” said Miguel Gamiño Jr, executive vice president, global cities for Mastercard.

“We are partnering closely with cities around the world to ensure they have insights and technologies to improve how they attract and cater to tourists while preserving what makes them so special in the first place.”

Also, in 2016, Lagos was ranked as the third most visited city in Africa trailing Johannesburg and Cape Town which held the first and second position.

According to a report by, Johannesburg emerged as the most popular destination city in Africa in 2016, followed by Cape Town.

Johannesburg welcomed 4.57 million international overnight visitors in 2016 – an impressive 24 percent increase on the previous year’s 3.69 million visitors. Cape Town rose from third place in 2015 to become the second most popular African destination city in 2016 with 1.52 million visitors.

Lagos (1.04 million), Casablanca (961 694), and Cairo (820 959) rounded out the top five African cities, while Durban remained in sixth place, attracting 758 057 international overnight visitors.


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