By Daniel Chigundu
ZIMBABWE is going to host the first ever China Africa Tourism Conference (CATC) from March 20-23 next year in a move meant to educate the local tourism players on how they could tap into the growing Chinese outbound market.
The conference which will be co-hosted by the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) and the Chinese Friendly International in Victoria Falls at an estimated cost of about US$400 000 will see about 1500 delegates from Africa and China taking part.
According to the National Tourism Administration (CNTA) the China National Tourism Organisation; a total of 120 million Chinese travelled abroad during 2015.
However, CNTA has since revised that by 2020 China will provide over 600 million outbound tourists from the earlier projected 240 million, which reaffirms China’s position as the world’s biggest outbound tourism market since 2012.
Addressing the media, ZTA chief executive Karikoga Kaseke said delegates to the CATC conference will among other things share knowledge on how to easily penetrate this growing Chinese market.
“Zimbabwe seeks to position itself as one of the leaders in offering a Chinese friendly destination by hosting the first ever China-Africa Tourism Conference from 20-23 March 2017 in Victoria Falls.
“The conference will increase cooperation amongst African destinations in offering seamless multi-destination packages suitable for the Chinese market. At the end of the conference all the conference participants are expected to be more knowledgeable of the needs of the highly travelled Chinese market.
“Zimbabwe is consolidating its tourism promotion efforts in China as it aims to benefit from the multitudes of Chinese long haul travel to Africa. At the end of the conference a real experience Chinese-African encounters will be compiled in the form of a White book which will further enhance knowledge sharing,” said the ZTA boss.
In particular in recent years, Chinese tourists have topped the global ranking of per capita outbound consumption, making China the world’s biggest source of tourists with the biggest spending power, and contributing to the development of the global tourism sector.
According to Tourism Highlights; 2015 Edition of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), ‘China, the world’s biggest source of tourists, continues its supernormal growth thanks to the increase of disposable income, strong exchange rate of renminbi, improved travel facilities and policy incentives for outbound tourism.
China’s outbound tourism market has grown remarkably in the past two decades, benefiting a batch of tourist destinations worldwide, in particular those in the Asian Pacific region.
Now most countries globally are competing for the Chinese tourist market as they outdo each other to lure these tourists.
It is expected that China’s per capita travel and global income contribution will double in 2020.
Kaseke said the move to host this conference is clear signs by ZTA to reach out more to the Chinese market.
Arrivals from China to Zimbabwe declined from 12 927 in 2014 to 6 925 in 2015 and also comparing with 30 549 recorded in 2011.
Speaking at the same occasion Chinese Friendly International chief executive Dr. Kurt Grotsch said the CATC conference will make history because it will unite African states tourism market and that it’s a big opportunity for Africa to tap into the Chinese market.
Among the expected delegates will be African tourism ministers, heads of national tourism organisations, Chinese Embassies in Africa, UNWTO, PATA, World Tourism Cities Federation (WTCF) and various tourism stakeholders from China and Africa.