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Over 100 Chinese tourists visit Kenya

25 February 2015, 08:11

Nairobi - More than 100 Chinese tourists and tour operators landed in Nairobi on Tuesday to sell the country as a tourist destination.

Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) said on Tuesday the 114 Chinese tourists arrived on Tuesday, followed by the top managers of tour companies, sales executives whose itineraries are set for different dates within the next three weeks.

"With the direct flight to China where Kenya Airways operates three times a week from Guangzhou to Nairobi, we have no doubt that this market is poised to grow to the next level," Ndegwa said in a statement issued in Nairobi.

The visit follows a successful collaborative promotion between KTB and Kenya's Embassy in China held early this year.

"Following our reassurance campaigns in Beijing and Shanghai together with our embassy earlier this year, major Chinese tour operators are beginning to show renewed interest in selling Kenyan destinations," Ndegwa said.

Kenya's tourism sector is currently in crisis due to security challenges that have led to issuance of travel advisories by U.S, Australia, France and Britain, Kenya's traditional sources of tourists.

Also read: Security okay in Mombasa, tourists assured

Since 2004, when China granted Kenya Approved Destination Status for outbound tourist groups, China has become the tourist source for Kenya in Asia, with more than 40,000 Chinese visiting Kenya in 2012, an increase of 10.4 percent compared to 2011.

However, the figures up to November 2014 saw the market drop by 9.8 percent to a record low of 31,486 arrivals, down from 34,923 during the same period in 2013.

Ndegwa attributed the drop that was reported across all the markets to insecurity and the Ebola scare but noted that the market is expected to regain its upward growth trajectory with reassurance campaigns.

According to the KTB, Chinese visitors are expected to exceed 100,000 by 2016. Ndegwa said the strategy is to at least get a group of 100 tourists from China every month especially during the low season.

Last year, KTB conducted a highly successful China Roadshow in Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu and Guangzhou. The initiative is expected to promote Kenya as a tourist destination in the Chinese market.

Kenya's Ambassador to China Michael Kinyanjui said the tour organized by Polaris Safari Limited in collaboration with Uniway Travel will go a long way in equipping the Chinese tour operators and agents with first-hand experience on Kenya as a destination.

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- Xinhua

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