The number of Chinese visitors to Kenya increased by 27 percent to 18,766 in 2007 compared to 14, 778 in the same period in 2006, the country's tourist marketers said in Nairobi on Wednesday.
The state-run Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) attributed the growth to the increased exposure of Kenya in the Chinese media and among the travel trade following increased marketing activities in the Asian nation.
KTB Managing Director Ongong'a Achieng said the July and October months recorded the highest percentage increase in arrivals of 71 percent to 78.4 percent respectively compared to the same period in 2006.
"This can partly be attributed to the execution of consumer outdoor and TV promotions in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou where a total of 26,164,000 impressions were recorded," Ongong'a told journalists in Nairobi.
"In addition to this, interest in long haul and premium destinations has increased greatly among Chinese consumers," he said.
Ongong'a said a total of 16,475,000 impressions were generated through positive media coverage.
"A combination of road shows and partnership programs with key tour operators in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou increased tour operator pages on Kenya by over 10 percent," he said.
Ongong'a said over 500 travel agents in China have been trained on the Kenya product offer. "At the moment, no travel bans have been imposed by the Chinese government on its citizens' travel to Kenya," he said. "However, travel advisories have been issued. The Board is optimistic that once the situation in the country returns to normal and the travel advisories are lifted, tourist arrivals for 2008 will continue on an upward trend," Ongong'a said.
He said the tourism body's decision to diversify markets and to recognize the potential of China through investment is definitely paying dividends.
"We expend to continue to invest in the Chinese market in the coming year," he said.
(Xinhua News Agency February 7, 2008)