Chinese tourists travel more and more to Africa looking for adventures and Africans welcome them expecting more tourist income
According to recent market studies, Chinese travelers are the world’s top tourism spenders, shelling out almost $260 billion in 2017 alone.
A growing part of that spend is now happening in Africa.
Experts say that this increase in Chinese travelers to African countries is due to encouraged by relaxed visa rules, increased interested in the continent’s cultural and historical sites, and initiatives that seek to appeal to Chinese tourists.
The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China launched a joint loyalty program with Kenya’s Stanbic Bank, aiming to create incentives for travel, shopping, and leisure to tourists visiting the two nations.
The so called “I Go Kenya—I Go China” scheme follows the bank’s similar program in South Africa last year, which rewarded its cardholders by offering a range of discounts and special offers from merchants across the travel, hospitality and lifestyle sectors.
The state-owned financial behemoth is doing this as part of its plan to internationalize, and push its banking card product abroad.
One result is that Africa is becoming increasingly attractive destination for Chinese tourists.
Africa is the top destination of choice for Chinese tourists seeking more adventurous holidays in 2018, beating Japan and Australia, a recent survey by the global travel platform Travelzoo found.
Chines tourists especially drawn to Morocco, Tunisia, South Africa, Namibia, Madagascar, and Tanzania. This year, Kenya also launched a marketing campaign to target China, hoping to boost the over 53,000 Chinese visitors who already came to the country last year.
The African continent’s engagement with Beijing is primarily as a business partner, with Chinese companies getting lucrative contracts and experience overseas while host nations receive needed infrastructure, jobs, and eventually technology and skills.
The rise of Chinese travelers tourists around the world seems unstoppable. In 2001 a modest 10.5m overseas trips were made by Chinese residents. Fast forward to 2017 and the figure was 145m – an astounding increase of 1,380 per cent.