Ethiopia hopes to attract more Chinese tourists via digital technology

Ethiopia is working with China to build up the country’s tourism industry, hoping to draw in more Chinese visitors.

In Oromia, the largest regional state in Ethiopia, local and Chinese tourism professionals are collaborating to highlight the region’s hidden treasures in order to attract tourists.
Recently, Oromia Tourism Commissioner Lelise Dhugaa told Xinhua that cross-cultural cooperation between the Oromia region and China is gaining momentum as an increasing number of Chinese tour operators and interpreters engage in the region’s tourism industry.
Dhugaa stated, “We are partnering with Chinese tour operators and language specialists to promote our tourism sites and attract more Chinese visitors to Ethiopia, especially the Oromia region.”

The Oromia Tourism Commission has just developed a website titled “Visit Oromia – Google Arts and Culture” to promote the region’s most diverse landscape, cultures, traditions, and extensive history. The website was established during Oromia Tourism Commission’s Tourism and Technology Week, which aims to develop a policy discussion platform for tourism-related issues and promote the country’s tourism destinations through the use of digital technology.

“We are employing digital technology, the first of its type in Ethiopia, to promote the country’s cuisine, costumes, and tourist sites, among other things,” Dhugaa explained.
According to the commissioner, agreements have been reached with Chinese enterprises to create tourism destinations and strengthen business-to-business contacts in an effort to strengthen tourism sector collaboration.

Dhugaa stated, “We have a very strong relationship with our Chinese brothers, and we have established Visit Oromia on Chinese social media platforms under the brand ‘Land of Origin’ in an effort to capitalize on China’s expanding tourism market.” Dhugaa said that first-time Chinese visitors to the region will have no communication hurdles, as Chinese enterprises and interpreters will service them everywhere in the region.

“With a population of over 1.3 billion and an expanding economy, China is becoming a prospective market for Ethiopian tourism,” she noted. State minister of tourism responsible for developing tourism destinations in Ethiopia, Sileshi Girma, stated that China, Africa, and the Middle East have been selected as core markets for tourism growth in Ethiopia.

On August 10, 2022, a man visits a booth showing traditional Ethiopian handicrafts during the Tourism and Technology Week in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. (Xinhua/Michael Tewelde)
Girma stated that the use of digital technology will be a game-changer in promoting Ethiopia’s diverse natural and historical tourist attractions.

According to him, the Ethiopian government has formed a relationship with its Chinese counterpart to improve the country’s tourism sector, which has led to an increase in the number of Chinese tourists and investors interested in the country.

“China is evolving into a key market. It is no longer a potential market because we have begun to receive an increasing number of Chinese clients. In Addis Abeba and beyond, we also have tour guides and eateries that speak Chinese “Girma added.

Are you looking for Chinese tourists for your tourism destination in Africa?

Top 6 hottest destination of Chinese people in Africa

  • Egypt
  • Kenya
  • Morocco
  • South Africa
  • Mauritius
  • Tanzania

In 2017, it was 800,000 Chinese tourists visiting Africa. It looks pretty less compared to the 60 million people coming into the continent. But we can’t help to notice that this figure is growing every year. There is now a new trend to be established saying that yearly, Africa sees a constant rise of Chinese tourists.

For long-time Chinese people was mostly choosing public tour operators to travel abroad. A system in which everything was include and controlled by a Chinese travel agency. Unfortunately, this system was not very profitable for local economies. However, this phenomenon is currently changing. From now, the number of Chinese traveling through this system plunge to 40%, while nowadays, 60% of Chinese travelers prefer to travel alone and experience local culture on their own. A new trend allowing the development of the local economy.

As a travel agency, hotel or other economic actor operating in the Tourism industry, how can you take advantage of this situation and attract new Chinese customers? How can you be sure that they’ll use your services instead of your competitors or even worst, a Chinese tour operator?

Understand here that wherever the country you come from, if you want to do business with Chinese people, the only real competitive advantage you’ll get is an efficient digital branding.

For Chinese people, branding is everything. They could spend 10x the price for something branded rather than something not branded. And it’s particularly true about things which they don’t know much about… If you don’t want to have to play the discount game forever or being seen as a cheap company, you’ll have to develop your e-reputation and brand your products/services.

E-Reputation is Very important 

The internet is full of many storytellings and news that affect brands in one way or the other. The Chinese tourists are looking for agencies that have a good image and more visibility; they often create social buzz and forums to gauge the reputation of brands. Tourism agencies that want to keep the Chinese as active tourists have to promote their image on the right online portals to engage Chinese interest. Social media platforms like Weibo, Wechat, Sina can be used by press campaign marketers to utilize Chinese bloggers, key opinion leaders, banner displays, and influencers.

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