African nations need to work a little harder to attract Chinese tourists, according to the travel experts at Skift.
A new piece for their Gateway series looks at how more than 120 million Chinese tourists are looking for new holiday destinations beyond Europe, but beyond the safari adventure, they’re not quite ready to take in experiences in Africa unless they’re safe and more accessible.
Social media plays a key role in engagement and perception, so some properties are connecting with potential guests through the popular Weibo platform. It’s one way to dispel conflict or security concerns, which notably arose during the West African Ebola outbreak in 2014. Specific countries such as Egypt or Kenya, where high profile terrorism events occur, also need to work at perceptions.
The expanding market of middle-class Chinese tourists also means removing barriers to make African destinations more attractive. Direct flights and on-arrival visas make the trip logistics easier to book and navigate; South Africa saw immediate advantages when it waived in-person application for travel groups.
Amenities with the Chinese in mind also boost traffic, including Mandarin television channels at hotels, staff training and interpretation services already available at some properties in Cairo, Addis Ababa and Johannesburg. South Africa’s tourism immersion training program, launched in 2016, is an example of the commitment that will bring more travelers to African destinations – but only if countries get serious about their marketing and customer experience efforts.
To read the entire Skift piece, see this link.