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Chinese tourists mull Kenya travel after Jack Ma visit

ALI BABA GROUP CEO, JACK MA, AT THE MAASAI MARA on July 21, 2017. PHOTO | Kenya Tourism Board
ALI BABA GROUP CEO, JACK MA, AT THE MAASAI MARA on July 21, 2017. PHOTO | Kenya Tourism Board  

International tourist arrivals from China to Kenya could spike in September following the recent visit of e-commerce tycoon Jack Ma this month.

This is according to leading Chinese tour operators, who say they have recorded a rise in holiday booking enquiries about Kenya from their clients since the founder and chairman of Alibaba Group visited the country.

The travel agents, who sell Kenya to the Chinese market, reckon that the visit by Mr Ma is a major boost and an endorsement to their campaigns of wooing Chinese holidaymakers to the country.

“As a result of Jack Ma’s visit, our task of marketing Kenya in China has become easier,” said Vivien Zhang, co-founder of Travel Service Bigeyes International.

“At the moment, more Chinese tourists are interested in coming to Kenya for holidays than before,” she added.

A top travel wholesaler for Africa and Middle East, Johnson Chen, disclosed that his company had also received lots of enquiries about Kenya from potential Chinese tourists.

“We anticipate Chinese tourists to visit Kenya in droves between September and October bolstered by the popularity Kenyan gained through Jack Ma’s tour,” said Mr Chen.

The tour operators made the remarks on Saturday during the Kenya Tourism Board’s (KTB) marketing tour of Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou.

KTB is planning to produce a video about Kenya’s tourism products specifically targeted at the Chinese market as part of efforts to draw more holidaymakers from the populous country.

“By the end of April this year, the country received 14,029 tourists from China up from 10,407 in the same period last year, an increase of 34.8 per cent,” KTB boss Betty Radier said.

Last year, international tourist arrivals from China to the country grew by 60.7 per cent to hit 47,860, up from 29,790 arrivals the previous year.