By Fridah Mlemwa
There are now more and more, rich and middle class people in China, and millions of them are looking for travel destinations.
Currently around 10% of China’s 1.4 billion population travels internationally. By 2027, the number of passport holders is expected to reach 300 million or 20% of the Chinese population, reveals the World Tourism organization.
For many years we, the African countries used to have International travelers coming from the US or from Europe, and now, more and more, they are coming from Asia.
In recent years, the number of Chinese visitors buying Africa tour packages has jumped, according to the Luxury Chinese Traveler 2018 Report.
Jumia e-commerce platform recently released the 2019 hospitality report on africa, and their group head of communication & public relations, Abdesslam Benzitouni told me more about Chinese travel in the continent.
“For many years we, the African countries used to have International travelers coming from the US or from Europe, and now, more and more, they are coming from Asia, and for instance 15 to 20percent of the Chinese traveling abroad they are visitng Africa now. And this is very interesting, because it is a new market, and the Chinese want to discover more and more Africa and many governments are already aware about that and they remove the visa or make the visa more easy. Like South Africa, or Morocco or even Egypt or Tunisia,“said Abdesslam Benzitouni, group head of communication and public relations.
Egypt, Kenya, Morocco, Tunisia, South Africa, Mauritius and Zimbabwe are the African countries with the largest number of Chinese tourists in 2017, According to Dragon Trail, a China-based digital marketing agency. So question is, what are Chinese tourists interested in?
“Africa is becoming very common for them, and middle class in China is also booming and they want to visit Africa, its like visiting Paris, Rome and they want to do safaris, and they want to discover Egypt, they want to discover Morocco and they want discover even more.. and they.. and this is a great opportunity to attract international travelersbecause, this is something complete newand you can see tham, in Kenya for examplein the Maasai Mara, 20 or 25percent of all the travelers are Chinese“said Abdesslam Benzitouni, group head of communication and public relations.
Why are there more Chinese coming to Africa ?
“You know Africa represents five percent of all the destinations for all international travelers and moreand more asians are in this five percent, and more and more, they want to come, like if, you know there is more chinese companies doing the trips like Ethiopia and China, Kenya and China, Egypt as well, so I think is aso a very interesting trend and is going to increase alot, a lot, alot“said Abdesslam Benzitouni, group head of communication and public relations.
How can Africa further tap into the Chinese billion dollar outbound tourism?According to experts Africa must ease visa and entry requirements, increase direct airline flights to China, further develop its tourism facilities especially its national heritage sites and parks but most importantly advertise, like South Africa’s recent agreement to advertise on Chinese internet and popular WeChat App… among other things. These they say can help the continent tap into the vast Chiense tourism market worth billions of dollars in revenue.@fmlemwa