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More tourists planning visits to Africa

By Li Lianxing | China Daily | Updated: 2013-08-13 01:45

Chinese guests showing great interest in the African country

Before Su Li, a 45-year-old manager of a travel agency in Yunnan province, went to Kenya in August with her family and clients, she was concerned the scenes in such a remote place might disappoint her group, and she did not know about the conditions in the country.

"We saw the wildebeest migration on television, but it was just on the TV and we didn't know how many animals were there and how spectacular it would be," she said. "This trip costs much more than going to Europe or the United States."

More tourists planning visits to Africa

Samburu women look on in the Samburu game reserve in May. United Nations Environment Programme goodwill ambassador and Chinese actress Li Bingbing was on an official visit to the Samburu reserve in Kenya to highlight issues of Africa's poaching crisis. Carl de Souza / Agence France-Presse

Su has been in the industry for more than 23 years and said it's very difficult but important to discover new destinations, especially for a place like Africa, which most Chinese travelers consider remote. She said her trip was a good test to see if Kenya is a good destination for her customers in the future.

"It eventually proved to be a memorable journey that I will strongly recommend and sell to my clients," Su said. "One can experience the most splendid natural gifts in this land that no other place could offer."

Like Su, many Chinese tourists are putting Africa on their agenda to get away from traditional travel destinations such as Europe, the US and Southeast Asian countries. Kenyan Tourism Minister Danson Mwazo said the number of tourists to Kenya in 2012 decreased, but the number of Chinese arrivals increased by 10.4 percent from a year earlier to 41,300.

More tourists planning visits to Africa

United Nations Environment Programme goodwill ambassador and Chinese actress Li Bingbing is given temporary tribal markings by a member of the Samburu tribe in May.Carl de Souza / Agence France-Presse

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta said his country must diversify its tourism market and attract more Chinese tourists, while continuing to provide good service to guests from the West.

Joseph Paul, 44, is a driver who has worked in Kenya for more than 18 years. He said it has been a surprise for him to see the explosion of Chinese tourists coming to Kenya in the past two years.

"Before 2012, there was a decrease of tourists traditionally from the West and Asian faces were rare, so we worried about the industry," he said. "But in the summer of 2012, the savannah and hotels were full of Chinese tourists and they showed a great interest in our country."

More tourists planning visits to Africa

More tourists planning visits to Africa

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