Chinese outbound tourism is up across the abroad, and it’s translating into growth in tourism in a wide variety of destinations. One of the more unusual areas of growth is in Chinese travel to Africa and Chinese media has been heralding upticks in Chinese arrivals to various African destinations in recent weeks. The number of Chinese arrivals to African destinations is still relatively small, but it does illustrate the changing nature of outbound Chinese tourism and Chinese travelers, but more importantly, the necessity of caution when responding to the reporting of significant growth in Chinese travel to any destination.
Chinese state media has been for the past years trumpeting the growing number of Chinese travelers to Africa, arguably in an attempt to highlight its increasing influence over the content. Some recent examples are touting Chinese tourism growth in Ethiopia, predicting a doubling of tourists in Kenya, and Egypt pinning hope on China for its struggling tourism industry. However, the percentage growth can be misleading without breaking down the numbers underlying them.