China, Hong Kong and Taiwan

The Chinese travel market to Africa can be roughly categorised as fixed departures and tailor-made holidays (for higher-end market).

Market structure

The Chinese travel market to Africa can be roughly categorised as fixed departures and tailor-made holidays (for higher-end market).

For the former, it starts from African DMCs sending packaged travel products to the Chinese wholesalers, the wholesalers then distribute to their associated travel agents, physical & online travel shops to recruit customers for fixed departures.

For the higher-end market, usually the customers require their itineraries to be tailor-made, they book through reputable Chinese luxury tour operators who commonly have their long-term collaborating DMCs in Africa. There has been a large increase of this type of luxury TOs up to the pandemic happened, due to a fast-growing interest/demand for Africa amongst Chinese travellers. However, post pandemic, we anticipate a fundamental change to the existing market structure.

Is Africa well known as a destination for holidays?

Definitely so, especially in 1st tier cities, like Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou & Shenzhen, African holidays have gained in popularity year-on-year. Generally speaking, the Taiwanese travellers are fonder of travelling to Africa than those from Hong Kong. South Africa and East African countries have become popular holiday destinations in the last 5 years or so.

General Market Overview

Southern Africa

South Africa is the No.1 destination in Africa (South Sahara), thanks to SA Tourism Board’s effective marketing promotion in China over the years and convenient flight connections. There are many training programmes targeted at the Chinese travel professionals. The general Chinese public perceives SA as a modern and wealthy country in Africa with abundant natural tourism resources and culture/history elements adding to its charm.

Namibia has gain popularity in recent years, it is perceived as a destination suitable for self-driving tours thanks to its good road infrastructure. Dune and Himba people are two most well-known attractions in Namibia.

East Africa

The most established destination in East Africa for the Chinese market is Kenya, followed by Tanzania. There will be a huge potential of growth for these two countries in the coming years. However, the majority of travellers are attracted by the Migration, hence most bookings are for July/August.

Zambia and Zimbabwe are also interesting destinations to some Chinese tourists, usually as add-ons to their main itinerary.

We have also noticed that in recent years, Rwanda, Uganda and Ethiopia have start to gain popularity, but the market is still in its infancy stage.

Central Africa

There are mainly business/work related delegates visiting Central Africa, not so many leisure visitors due to lack of awareness.

West Africa

There are mainly business/work related delegates visiting Central Africa, not so many leisure visitors due to lack of awareness.

Key Competitors to Africa

An Africa holiday is usually the choice for those who are already well-travelled. East & South-east Asia, Australia, America and Europe are the top choices for the general Chinese traveller.

Traveller Overview

Average holiday allowange per year for individuals
This varies from sector to sector, i.e. people working for government departments/institutions may have a range of 5-14 days paid holiday per year; people working for international companies have slightly more holidays, say 10-20 days. Generally speaking, it is uncommon that an employee has more than 15 days holidays per year. That is why the Chinese people like to combine public holidays and paid holidays together for a long-haul trip. That means, Chinese Near Year (One-week holiday in Jan/Feb), Labour day (first week of May) and National Day (first week of Oct) are the three peak travel seasons. July and August are also travel peak times, especially for families with kids.
Average holiday price paid for main holiday
This can vary a lot from one individual to another, one family to another family. But usually, the type of Chinese individuals travelling to Africa for holiday are the wealthy and well-educated ones. Average price paid for a main holiday is around US$3,000 per person, which takes up around 30% of disposable income, according to a 2019 Chinese outbound travel consumption report.
How do they travel? Eg. Solo, families, couples, groups
Most Chinese travellers choose group travel to Africa. Families (a couple with kids and a pair of grandparents) & multiple families travelling together are a growing trend. There are also couples and solo travellers too but not mainstream.
What type of holiday do they prefer? Eg, Adventure, luxury, independent
Majority of the Chinese travellers to Africa would choose luxury accommodation (4 star and above), they are looking for an adventure with reasonable comfort.
Do they require interpreters when travelling?
Depends on each group. However, a Chinese speaking guide is generally required (above 80% of the groups would specify a Chinese speaking guide)
Are they price sensitive?
It depends. The low-end market is highly price sensitive, but the high-end market could be very lucrative.
Preferred type of accommodation, eg. Luxury, basic, self-catering
They would prefer luxury accommodation on a full board basis, unless at city hotels, where the clients may want half board. Accommodation with Chinese friendly hospitality is very much preferred by the clients, i.e. Chinese welcome sign & welcome letter, food & beverage menu in Chinese, Chinese style breakfast, etc.


Useful Links

Local Travel Trade Media Titles

Travel World China digital magazines (B2B) with current subscription of 135,000 copies, published every two months.

More Information and Representative Contact Information

Lin Yu

Lin Yu

Managing Director & Publisher, Travel World China

Lin is one of the co-founders of Travel World China, a leading destination marketing and travel representation company in China. Founded in 2005, ever since TWC has been proactive in facilitating Chinese outbound tourism to worldwide destinations, promoting and representing foreign destinations, hotels and DMCs in the Chinese market, bridging connections and communication between the overseas and Chinese travel trade, media and policymakers.

Lin has lived and worked in China and UK, she is familiar and adaptive to both Eastern and Western culture and business etiquette. Being Atta’s China representative for a number of years, she is passionate about Africa and eager to provide assistance to Atta members with regards to Chinese travel market entry and development, using whole channel mix including digital marketing, PR & communication, events as well as sales strategy formation and execution.

[email protected]
+86 21 55380190