In pursuit of new experiences, adventurous - and well-heeled - Chinese tourists are flocking to the continent
When he got married, Xu Chong promised his wife that one day, they would visit the land of his dreams - Africa. This summer, almost three decades later, the sexagenarian kept his promise. The Xus went on a 14-day journey to South Africa and Zimbabwe, savoring incredible new experiences, stunning natural beauty and wildlife, not to mention diversified cultures. By his estimate, the trip cost them over 30,000 yuan ($4,615).
The Xus are among the millions of Chinese who have been showing a growing interest in traveling abroad in recent years. Last year, 120 million Chinese went abroad, a surging swell compared to the number in 1992 - 2.98 million, according to China National Tourism Administration data.
Africa, with its diverse attractions - from beaches and wildlife to cultural heritages - is fast becoming the destination of choice of well-heeled Chinese tourists. Research by the China Tourism Academy, a Beijingbased research institution, indicates Africa is seeing the fastest growth in Chinese travelers. In 2014, their number rose more than 80 percent year on year.
China’s economic growth, many countries easing visa restrictions to tap the expanding Chinese tourist segment, and the start of direct flights between Chinese and foreign cities are among the reasons more Chinese are traveling abroad, the research says.
South Africa is reaping the benefits of the decision to ease the onerous new visa regulations. Subsequently, tourist arrivals from China rose 65.1 percent year on