KTB to tour China as it eyes Sh27trn tourism market

In Summary

• Kenya will tour Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou.

Tourism CS Najib Balala.
Tourism CS Najib Balala.
Image: FILE

Kenya has embarked on a tour of China’s major cities of Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou as it sets its eyes on $270 billion (Sh27 trillion) revenue from the projected 160 million outbound tourism market in China.

The Kenya Trade forum road show themed “Adventure Tour”was attended by over 110 traders from keyonline travel agents (OTA) including Ctrip, Tongcheng, andTuniu and key traditional travel agencies and tailor-made travel agencies.

The Kenya Tourism Board through this event sought to demystify the Chinese travel market perspective that Kenya is a seasonalsafari destination and instead position Kenya as an ‘All Year Magic’ destination through intensive product training sessions to the Chinese Travel agencies in each of the 3 provinces.


China is an important source market for most destinations around the world given that it is the largest source market in terms of outbound numbers and spend. Countries in sub-Saharan Africa generally have a similar product offering; Wildlife and Beach and it is critical that Kenya differentiates itself in order to attract high value Chinese tourists throughout the year.

Tourist arrivals into Kenya from China has been growing steadily over the last five years. Last year, Kenya received 81,709 arrivals into the country, representing a 4.03% growth from the previous year.January this year, the market already indicated a growth of 4.5% with 3,520 arrivals up from 2,354 in the same period last year.

The number of inbound Chinese tourists is projected to increase from initiatives such as the direct link between the city of Changsha and Nairobi by one of China’s biggest airlines China Southern Airlines,who announced the deployment of its 330-200 Airbus twice per week (Wednesday and Sunday) to and from Changsha, while non-stop flights between Nairobi and Guangzhou on Monday and Friday. 

Chinese tourists spent an average of USD 3,064 per person on location destination on their most recent overseas travels, excluding tour group costs and the major transportation costs to and from the destination. Expenses by outbound Chinese tourists are shopping (25%), hotel accommodations (19%), and dining (16%). Other categories of expenses include visits to tourist attractions, local transportation, recreation, and communications and others.

The Chinese market is becoming more segmented with a lot of diversity in travel habits with the Chinese adventure travellers interested in experiencing all aspects of a new destination including the cuisine and unique local culture and cuisine.

“Using findings from an in-depth engagement with Chinese travel agencies, media as well as local travel partners, we have uncovered new insights on China tourism trends that inform how we package our destination products and experiences to offer travellers more specialized and personalised experiences,” KTB chief executive Betty Radier said.

“We are also working collaboratively with our local tour operators and traders on training their tour guides and their staff on the Chinese language and culture as well as implementing seamless customer experience for Chinese travelers from flight to departure within the destination.” She added.

Kenya Tourism Board also held engagement forums with media exploring ways on awareness creation and strengthen the brand positioning of the Kenya destination across both traditional and China’s social media space as a platform for direct consumer engagements.