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Kenya woos more Chinese visitors

28 April 2015, 10:39 Nechesa Chemoi

Nairobi - The Kenyan embassy in China has eased travel procedures for Chinese visitors to Kenya.

The visitors will be allowed to get visas on arrival at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi.

The Kenya Tourist Board (KTB), Kenya Wildlife Services (KWS) and other key players in the industry have also come up with ways to encourage Chinese tourists to visit Kenya, they include translating promotional materials into Mandarin, training Kenyan tour operators in Chinese culture and languages in Confucius institutes and devising more innovative ways of improving visitor experience.

The revelation was made during a round-table meeting between Wildlife conservation non-governmental organisations based in China and KWS goodwill delegation at the Jintai Art Museum in Beijing.

They discussed how the civil society could work with governments and communities in the fight against poaching and trafficking in ivory and rhino horn.

KWS acting Director General William Kiprono called on the civil society to be accountable for their resources they get for conservation work and avoid duplication of efforts.“We need to talk to each other and not at each other.

 International criminals are not restricted to any nationalities. Let’s work together and make the best use of resources in conservation,” Kiprono said.

Also read: Chinese visitors boosts tourism sector

Kiprono also asked the organisations to help boost tourism in Kenya.

“You should encourage more people to visit Kenya on wildlife safaris not just as part of their contribution to the conservation of iconic wildlife species but also for their own enjoyment and relaxation,” he said.

Many countries targeting Chinese tourists have been conducting surveys on their preferences in hotel cuisine and shopping patterns to figure out how to attract them in a more sustainable way.

KTB has also requested Chinese authorities to be allowed to hold promotional events in zoos and sanctuaries for potential visitors to be encouraged to visit wild animals in their natural habitats in Kenya.

Last year, Kenya was granted the “Approved Destination Status” by the Chinese government. About 10 years earlier, KTB and the China National Tourism Administration Bureau signed a memorandum of understanding on the implementation of a plan for organised group travel by Chinese to Kenya.

Lately, China has emerged as an important potential source of high net worth tourists for Kenya as visitors from the traditional western tourist markets decline.

About 40,000 tourists from China visit Kenya per year, pushing the Asian country to top ten source markets for Kenya globally and the largest source market in Asia. 

KTB projects the figure to grow steadily in the coming years, hitting 100,000 market next year, though still a negligible fraction of the estimated 100 million outward-bound Chinese tourists.

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- MyNews24

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