Harare - Zimbabwe and Tanzania recently recorded a boost in the Chinese tourist traffic after the two countries welcomed a contingent of over 300 Chinese tourists that toured Tanzania, Djibouti and Zimbabwe respectively.
The Chinese delegation, which included business people, journalists and leisure tourists, came to Africa following efforts by the Zimbabwean and Tanzanian governments to increase numbers of tourists from the Asian continent.
Tanzania signed a memorandum of agreement with a Chinese marketing company, Touchroad International Holdings, sometime last year, and it is through that MoU that the Chinese are now flocking onto the African continent.
Zimbabwe, on the other hand, also signed a similar agreement with the same company in April 2018 and according to their agreement, the two SADC nations are set to receive a total of 10,000 Chinese tourists within a period of five years.
The first group among the 10 000 expected Chinese tourists arrived in Africa on 14 May and toured Tanzania, Djibouti then finished their tour in Zimbabwe, where they spent three days touring the country’s most historical places as well as conducting a business conference with Zimbabwean business people and government officials.
Zimbabwe’s Environment, Tourism and Hospitality Minister Prisca Mupfumira said the relationship between the Chinese and the African states was set yield great results that will not only boost the tourism sector but even economies.
“This historic visit highlights the yield of tangible results from the strategic comprehensive partnership emanating from the MoU signed between the Ministry of Environment, Tourism and Hospitality Industry and the Touchroad International Holdings group from China.
“This is not a once off visit of such groups to Africa, we are expecting more groups coming to Zimbabwe, targeting about 10.000 Chinese arrivals through this initiative,” Mupfumira said.
According to the Zimbabwe Tourism Authourity (ZTA) statistics, Zimbabwe as a tourism destination has not been doing well in the Chinese market since the closure of the Zimbabwe tourist office in Beijing, and the withdrawal of Air Zimbabwe flights in September 2011.
The Zimbabwean government is, however, making efforts to revive and regain the country’s tourist attraction centres popularity in the Chinese community, and they are in the process to re-open the Zimbabwe tourist office in Beijing so as to start marketing the country in China again
Mupfumira added that Zimbabwe was committed to making sure that the Chinese tourist traffic continued to bloom.
“We have had a series of negative market developments in the past, and these negative developments saw tourist arrivals from China seriously declining from its peak of 30 549 arrivals in 2011 to 11 439 in 2018.
“Therefore partnering with Touchroad, one of the leading investment companies in China, has the capacity to increase tourist arrivals to Zimbabwe from China,” she said.
As stated by the UN World Tourism Organisation, China is one of the leading tourist source markets in the world and creating relations with such a nation is a good step towards boosting tourist traffic in any nation.
According to the Tanzania Tourist Board, just like Zimbabwe, Tanzania is fully committed to increase the number of visitors from the Asian continent.
In a bid to make their project successful, the TTB has in the past months strengthened their relations with China and they have been taking part in various tourism fairs in China as well as doing road shows and exhibitions in cities like Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Chengdu, Shanghai and Beijing so as to market their tourist attraction centres.