Group Travelers From China Visit Kenya For The First Time After The Covid-19 Pandemic

Kenya Receives Group Travellers From China

Kenya’s efforts to attract tourists from China have received a major boost after China’s largest airline arrived in the country with the first batch of group travelers from China.

The China Southern Airlines flight from Guangzhou touched down at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport on Saturday morning with 205 travelers, forty (40) of whom were on group travel.

Travelers disembarking the China Southern flight which touched down at JKIA on Saturday with group travelers from China.

This marked the first time the airline was landing in Kenya with a group of travelers since a ban on group tours was imposed by the Chinese government during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. The airline had initially resumed flying into Kenya on the 9th of January 2023.

In January 2023, China lifted its travel restrictions with the government announcing it would pilot outbound group tours in twenty countries globally starting February 6. Kenya was among the only three African countries picked alongside Egypt and South Africa for the project.

Speaking when he welcomed the visitors, Tourism PS John Ololtuaa said that the resumption of group travel from China was an important milestone for Kenya’s tourism sector owing to China’s growing importance as a source market for Kenyan tourism.

PS for tourism(Left) and KTB Ag CEO John Chirchir(right) receiving visitors aboard China Southern Airline which arrived with a group of travelers from China. 

PS Ololtuaa said that Kenya Tourism is glad to receive this flight with 205 passengers, forty (40) of whom are on group travel into Kenya. Kenya thanks the Chinese government for choosing Kenya among the 3 African countries for this pilot. China has reported one of the longest closures of international flights. It was exciting for Kenya because it means that Kenya is now resuming full connectivity with one of our growing source markets for international tourist arrivals. They are looking forward to capitalizing on our already strong bilateral relations with China to improve tourism numbers from China.

The PS further observed that the full resumption of Chinese airlines would not only complement Kenya’s existing air connectivity but also help in increasing tourist arrivals from China to Kenya, adding that the Ministry of Tourism would be working closely with other stakeholders to attract Chinese travelers to the country.

the PS said that over time now, China has grown into an important emerging market. Pre the pandemic arrival, numbers had been on an increase with the destination receiving 83,180 visitors in 2018 and 83,388 in 2019. Chinese nationals visited Kenya and spent nights in various hotels in different parts of the country. The Chinese market represents a huge opportunity for Kenya’s tourism industry and will only grow in the coming years with more air connectivity.

China is currently Kenya’s sixth biggest tourism source market internationally and the second biggest source market in Asia. It contributes around 5.5 percent of total international tourist arrivals to Kenya thereby signifying its immense potential for growth.

On his part, Kenya Tourism Board Ag. CEO, John Chirchir said that a majority of Chinese tourists visit Kenya between July and September to see the wildebeest migration. Chinese visitors have an adventurous spirit and are willing to pay for value for adventurous experiences. Kenya wants them to know that Kenya is an all-year-round tourist destination by marketing all their experiences including beach, adventure, and wellness hiking among other products so as to attract all visitors.

The airline will make three (3) weekly trips from Guangzhou to Nairobi, further boosting international travel in Kenya.

The rising middle class in China has created strong demand for outbound travel which creates potential opportunities for Kenya to attract travelers from the Asian nation. In addition, cultural ties between the two nations are growing rapidly, and this was demonstrated last month with the launch of the Sino-Africa Culture and Tourism Club in Nairobi. The club will help market Kenya as a tourist destination in China and provide platforms for cultural exchange and collaboration.

Headquartered in Baiyun District, Guangzhou, Guangdong Province, China Southern Airline is China’s biggest carrier, by fleet size and market share.

Video & Photo courtesy Ministry of Tourism


The Voice of Tourism 

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