Kenya mulls new initiatives to woo Chinese tourists
Kenyan and Chinese tourism promotion bodies have conducted training for the East African nation's tourism stakeholders as part of new initiatives to bring more Chinese tourists to the country.
The day-long training was jointly conducted by China Outbound Tourism Research Institute (COTRI) in partnership with the Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) on Chinese culture so that they are prepared to welcome and cater to Chinese tourists in accordance with the Chinese customs, values, and demands.
KTB Acting CEO Jacinta Nzioka-Mbithi said Tuesday the training was aimed at educating the stakeholders and the general travel trade sector on the latest updates and developments as well as the dynamics of the Chinese market in response to the rapid expansion and growth of China's outbound tourism.
"We want to bring in more Chinese to visit Kenya and beginning with today's forum, we will continue to hold a series of studies and awareness to know more about the traveling Chinese, their interests, likes and travel dynamics, so that we are able to improve Kenya's penetration into the China market by bridging the existing knowledge gaps," she said in a statement.
Kenya's tourism sector is currently in crisis due to security challenges that have led to issuance of travel advisories by US, Australia, France and Britain, Kenya's traditional sources of tourists. However, the travel warnings have since been lifted in some regions.
Since 2004, when China granted Kenya Approved Destination Status for outbound tourist groups, China has become the major tourist source for Kenya in Asia, with more than 40,000 Chinese visiting Kenya in 2012, an increase of 10.4 per cent compared to 2011.
According to the KTB, Chinese visitors are expected to exceed 100,000 by 2016.
Nzioka-Mbithi said Kenya was committed towards understanding and meeting the needs of Chinese tourists and therefore the training was timely to facilitate the adaptation of tourism related products and services in Kenya to suit their needs.
COTRI speakers discussed the new trends and changes in China's outbound tourism, market demands and future developments.
The training brought together a total of 46 tourism stakeholders drawn from hotels, airlines, tour operators, airport's taxi, shopping malls and Kenya government agencies including department of immigration, Ministry of Tourism, and National Museums of Kenya and other relevant government institutions.
COTRI is the world's leading independent research institute for training, quality assessment, research and consulting on the Chinese outbound tourism market.