A survey shows a record high number of Chinese respondents—more than 60%—who plan to travel in-depth in 2018. “In-depth travels” is a term used by travel websites in China to describe the type of trips that involve more unconventional journeys beyond the typical tourist experience. For the very first time, Africamoved up to first place as the top in-depth travel destination Chinese travelers hope to visit in 2018, dethroning the ever-popular Japan and Australia. Among the destinations in Africa Chinese are most interested in Morocco, Tunisia, South Africa, Namibia, Madagascar and Tanzania, according to Travelzoo’s website statistics.
Deal experts say the rapid growth in popularity in exotic destinations such as Morocco and Tunisia is largely due to relaxation of visa requirements for Chinese nationals. Chinese passport holders have been granted visa-free access to visit Morocco since June 2016and Tunisia since February 2017, and visa-on-arrival access to enter Tanzania and Egypt. There was a 378% year-over-year growth in Chinese arrivals in Morocco and 240% in Tunisia during the six months after the easing of visa requirements, which pushed Morocco to first place and Tunisia third as the destinations that enjoyed the greatest growth in Chinese visitors (source: ForwardKeys, October 2017).
The days when Chinese tourists were entertained by merely sightseeing and shopping are long gone. The middle class in China are now seeking unforgettable experiences at their own pace when they travel. The destinations that offer rich culture and nature should expect many more Chinese visitors, so we’re confident in our prediction that 2018 will see Africa secure its place as the fastest-growing popular destination among avid Chinese travelers.”
Additionally, the survey revealed that the U.S.—one of the top five destinations of all time for Chinese travelers—fell from the third place to fifth this year while Japan and Australia remain number one and two. The U.K. retains the fourth spot, while no other Western European country made it into the top 10 this year.