Nairobi has been ranked as Africa eighth most visited city, with a record of more than 619,506 visitors this year.
According to the MasterCard Global Destinations Cities Index (GDCI), the number of international overnight visitors have also increased by nine per cent – from 568,266 last year to 619,506 this year.
Nairobi ranks ahead of Dakar (619, 413 visitors), Entebbe (576, 434) and Tunis (427, 807) among others in terms of forecasted international overnight visitors.
According to the Index, international visitors are forecasted to spend $317 million (Sh28.5 billion) in Nairobi this year, up nearly 13 per cent from the $281 million (Sh25.2 billion) spent last year, indicating the continued significance of tourism as a key economic driver for the country.
The ratings come in the wake of several travel advisories issued to Kenya as a result of recent acts of terrorism that have been witnessed the country.
James Wainaina, Vice President and Area Business Head, MasterCard, East Africa attributes the growth to intra-Africa tourism.
“The proactive push for intra-Africa tourism has had a positive effect on the number of international visitors coming to Kenya,” Mwangi said.
TOP INTERNATIONAL DESTINATIONS
London tops the list as the destination of choice for international travelers for the third time in four years, with a record of 18.7 million international visitors in 2014.
Bangkok, Paris, Singapore and Dubai make up the top five most-visited cities, with the Dubai being highlighted as one of the fastest growing cities in the global top ten, on track to overtake Paris and Singapore within five years.
Dubai, which ranks first the Middle East and Africa Top 10 Destination, recorded 11.95 million international overnight visitors, followed by Riyadh (5.59 million) and Johannesburg (4.25 million)
According to the index, which provides a ranking of the 132 most travelled cities from around the world, the surge in international travel to these cities has been fueled by an expanding middle class, innovations in luxury travel and rising need for business travel.