Chinese Tourists Showing Increasing Interest in Africa as Number of Inbound Visitors Jumps 7% in Three Years
Tourists from China are showing increasing interest in Africa, a new report from the continent’s leading online travel agency, Jumia Travel has revealed.
The analysis shows that after seven consecutive years of annual double-digit growth in spending, China has continued to lead global outbound travel, reaching $261 billion of Chinese travelers’ expenditure in 2016. This represents a 12% growth since 2012.
Josephine Wawira, a Communication’s Lead at Jumia Travel, stated that approximately 135 million Chinese outbound tourists traveled in 2016, out of which 10% visited Africa, up from 3% in 2008.
Jumia Travel’s report indicates that at the end of the first quarter of 2016, China’s economy stood at an approximate $11.3 trillion, the second largest in the world just after the United States (US) with about $17 trillion. However, while the US remains on top of the chart, the case is expected to be different by 2027 in terms of tourism spending and investment as well as in total travel and tourism GDP as China overtakes the world giant.
In Africa, data has shown that Chinese tourists spend an average of 40% in excess of their European and American counterparts. Increasing Chinese investments in the continent, as well as involvement with African governments’ projects such as the construction of the recently launched Standard Gauge Railway in Kenya, remains among major factors that influence China’s appetite for Africa.
China’s total trade with Africa peaked at $222 billion by December 2014.
“This, not to mention a highly tech savvy and adventurous generation of Chinese millennials with a comparatively high purchasing power,” said Wawira.
“Chinese millennial travelers are fueling the growth of global tourism as they seek new and fresh experiences,” states a report by Carat & Jing Travel, an organization that tracks trends within the country’s hospitality sector.
Other factors include ease of travel following the introduction of direct flights between China and several African countries such as South Africa, Ethiopia, and Kenya, which according the Kenya Tourism Board (KTB), saw a whopping 100,000 Chinese visitors in 2016.
“Less stringent visa restrictions for Chinese travelers to countries such as Morocco and Tunisia is also a big plus,” Wawira explained.
Jumia Travel is capitalizing on the trend by creating a link between China and the African market.
“This helps us leverage on the diversity of operating on both the African and Chinese markets,” says Estelle Verdier, Jumia Travel Chief Operations Officer.
“It is therefore up to the concerned stakeholders in the hospitality and tourism industries in Africa to gain momentum in meeting what seems to be an increasingly demanding Chinese tourism source market,” said Wawira.