5 July 2018

Kenya Set for More China Tourists, Says Moody's

Kenya is among 10 African countries likely to benefit most from increased number of tourists from China, rating agency Moody's has said.

This is in view of the 30 per cent annual growth in the Chinese tourists to Africa since 2012 following rising incomes in the far eastern Asian nation.

Other countries mentioned as likely to benefit from Chinese global adventurism are Tanzania, South Africa, Mauritius, Egypt, Morocco, Namibia, Cape Verde, Botswana and Tunisia.

The 10 countries are considered the most competitive destinations for tourism in Africa, Moody's said.

"South Africa, Mauritius, Morocco, Egypt, Kenya, Namibia, Cape Verde, Botswana, Tunisia and Tanzania are Africa's most competitive tourist destinations and are most likely to benefit from increased numbers of visitors from China," said the agency.

"China's rising income levels could also lead to a rise in tourism to Africa. Although the share of Chinese tourists to Africa remains small - 1.5 per cent of total outbound Chinese tourists - they have risen 30 per cent annually since 2012, the fastest rate globally."

Moody's noted that the increase in direct flights to some Chinese cities - as in the case of Kenya - and the relaxation of visa rules in some countries like Morocco would encourage more Chinese visitors to Africa.

Recently China Southern Airlines increased the number of flights between Nairobi and Guangzhou city to three from two previously. Early last year, Kenya Airways signed a code share agreement with Hong Kong Airlines increasing the frequency of flights to daily from once a week between Nairobi and Hong Kong targeting the growing trade with the Chinese city.

"The recent relaxation of visa rules for Chinese tourists and an increase in direct flights between China and Africa will support further increases in tourism. For instance, after Morocco exempted Chinese tourists from visa requirements in June 2016, Chinese arrivals tripled in 2017," said Moody's.

On the trade side, according to the report, Kenyan food commodity exports to China stands at 23 per cent of the total of such exports while the exports of agricultural raw materials to the same country stands at 27 per cent of the total of similar exports.


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