Translator: Zander Rounds
Published on: 11/17/2014
Source: International Business Daily
Original text (in Chinese via China Daily portal): http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/hqcj/xfly/2014-11-17/content_12727447.html
By now, many Chinese industries have already entered the African market and gained positive momentum. Currently, China-Africa Cooperation is playing an increasingly important role in global economic development and Chinese-African investment and trade have already become an important part of Africa’s economic growth. Airlines in Egypt, Ethiopia, Zimbabwe and several other countries have opened up regular direct flights to Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Hangzhou.
The rapid development of China-Africa trade and personnel exchange provides an immense space for bilateral civil aviation cooperation. Over the past few years, the number of people traveling between China and Africa has on average increased at a rate of 15% per year, reaching around 1.5 million total trips. China has already formally signed inter-governmental aviation transit agreements with 17 African countries including Ethiopia, Angola, Tanzania, Zambia, South Africa and Nigeria.
“Presently, more than half of the tour groups that will travel to Africa before January of next year have already been collected.” Wang Le, from China Youth Travelers Online, described how from December to February, Africa’s climate is cozy – the average temperate is between around 10-20°C – really making it the golden period to sufficiently appreciate the local interests and charm. Africa’s tourist visas are distributed at a very high rate, so there is not need to worry about issues related to getting visa applications rejected and the processing time is probably between 7-10 days. Especially since the cost of traveling during the Spring Festival period fluctuates greatly, a lot of travelers are scrambling to go out and travel before the increase in prices of Spring Festival.
“Before, the large majority of South African tourism focused on group trips, but following with South African Airways’ establishment of a direct flight in 2012, more Chinese tourists can quickly and easily fly nonstop to South Africa. Travelers that understand English and appreciate more freedom are increasingly welcoming trips like this, booked independently through overseas market services.” According to Wang Le’s introduction, previously when traveling in between Johannesburg – considered to be the center of South Africa and its biggest city – travelers needed stop in Hong Kong, Singapore, Dubai, etc. and change planes. As a result the journey would take at least 20 hours. Since the direct flight has been opened, the entire flight is approximately 15 hours without a stop in between, not only curtailing the flight time but also avoiding the anxiety and inconvenience of transferring. In addition, by traveling through the aviation hub of Johannesburg, travelers can conveniently transfer planes to continue on to more than 20 destinations on the African continent, as well as destinations in North and South America.
“This year, China’s tourist entry and exit trade deficit has already broken US$100 billion.” China Tourism Institute’s president Dai Bin stated that along with China’s economic development, the demand by consumers to “go out of the county’s gate” is increasingly intense. As World Tourism Organization’s statistics illustrate, China’s 1 million outbound tourist trips in 2013 established it as the world’s biggest origin for tourists. At the same time, China’s tourist spending abroad was $102 billion, surpassing America and Germany to become number one in the world. 10 years ago, China’s tourism spending abroad accounted for 1% of the global total. By 2023 this percentage will increase to 20%The mysterious ancient Egyptian civilization, the mystical East African savannas—these places continually attract many of those fond of exploring and hunting for nature. Along with China’s economic growth, China’s outbound tourist market has already expanded beyond the original South East Asian destinations to a vast range of destinations including Australia, Singapore, Europe and Africa. Among these destinations, Africa, due to its distinctive cultural charm, elegant natural environment and steadily improving infrastructure, is becoming a popular Chinese tourist destination.
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