African countries need to learn from China for boosting tourism

Published on : Thursday, November 24, 2016

african-countriesChina built an additional 33,000 rural public toilets and modified and renovated 57,000 others between last year and end of this year. In China, a lot of importance is given to revamp these public spaces for convenience of locals and tourists. With this reconstruction work, it is expected that hundreds of tourists will visit China in the near future.

 
The construction of toilets is no doubt a futuristic move by the Chinese government for upgrading the country’s infrastructure. It also speaks about concerns regarding public hygiene. It is these small things that matter a lot. These things need to be taken care of by African tourism, which they haven’t taken seriously as yet. Africa has rich heritage of its wildlife, sceneries and national parks, but its tourism hasn’t explored its full tourism potential yet. Example needs to be taken from China, which has been the largest source of global outbound tourists since 2012. According to CNTA report, around 133 million international tourists visited China last year and 120 million Chinese toured internationally during the same period.

 
The UNWTO said that total international consumption by Chinese tourists was at least $102 billion in last year. Africa needs to worry since only 1.1 million Chinese tourists visited the continent last year. In contrast, Thailand and Japan attracted 8 and 5 million Chinese tourists, respectively. In Africa, Egypt attracted the biggest number of Chinese tourists in 2015, followed by South Africa. Hence, Africa needs to rethink its marketing strategies, giving importance to online marketing.

 
African countries should also think about organizing tours for the media and the large tour operators from China. This would lure Chinese tourists. Relaxing visa procedures is another way of encouraging Chinese travels to Africa. However, recently Zimbabwe said that Chinese tourists can apply for visa on arrival. The African countries also need to apply for the Approved Destination Status (ADS) from China, which would encourage Chinese tourists to carry out group tours. 17 countries, including Zimbabwe have received this approval, and are implementing the rules. Also, many amenities like getting to watch Chinese TV channels, Chinese cuisines, more duty free shopping and smooth electronic payment systems will make it easier for Chinese tourists to travel to African countries and return again.

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