China-Africa tourism exchanges have been on a big upswing since 2000, according to officials in Beijing.
National Tourism Administration figures show that the number of Chinese tourists choosing African countries as first stops on trips abroad reached 194,000 last year, a year-on-year growth of 35.2 percent, with South Africa and Egypt as the top two destinations.
The same year, China played host to 294,000 African tourists, a year-on-year growth of 23.4 percent, with South Africa and Egypt as the two biggest sources of tourists.
China has approved 28 African countries as tourism destinations for citizens, including nine which were announced during the China-Africa Cooperation Forum in Beijing late last year.
Kimyanjui, a consular official with the Kenyan Embassy in Beijing, said his government is keen to attract Chinese tourists and had launched advertising and promotion campaigns.
Kimyanjui said Kenya attracted 12,000 Chinese tourists in 2005 and more in 2006. "We look forward to receiving more," he said.
A manager surnamed Rao with China International Travel Service said African tours have great potential and the number of visitors has been increasing substantially in recent years.
"The top two destinations are Egypt and South Africa, which attract far more Chinese tourists than other African countries," Rao said.
Rao said eight-day tours to Egypt and South Africa cost about 13,000 yuan (US$1,665) and 16,000 yuan (US$2,050).
"The two lines are so popular that we have no more seats on tours to the two countries during the Spring Festival," Rao said.
(China Daily February 6, 2007)