China’s tourists can help Africa fight poverty


BRUSSELS – Professor Geoffrey Lipman, Director of, said that it was time to to look for more tourists from China to boost African economies, following the strengthening trade patterns between the regions and the emergence of China as a leading global tourism player.

He noted that one of the great unexplored upsides of the significant Chinese trade investment in the continent is that business and leisure travel will be an integral part of the growth and development. Foreign visitors are an export and their spending spreads rapidly through economies stimulating infrastructure, construction, agriculture, communications, and human resource skills. This creates wealth, jobs, and investment.

He said that Africa must secure a much more significant share of the escalating Chinese outbound business, currently at more than 50 million travelers and forecast to be the largest international market flow in the world in the coming decade.

Lipman warned that Chinese travelers will not simply materialize; they will need many more air services – direct and through the Gulf, as well as support infrastructure, products, and quality delivery. And they will be competitively discerning – looking for the same standards in transport, hospitality, and ground services as they find in Asia. This means top class airports, tailored tourism products, and well-trained staff who understand their needs.

Governments and the private sector will need to collaborate in new ways to integrate these travel and tourism socio-conomic development opportunities into transformational green growth infrastructure, rural development, technology transfer, capacity building, and core funding programs.


The central point of Lipman’s remarks, addressing the IIPT Summit in Zambia and the ITC Summit in Turkey, was the huge potential for the world’s least developed counties (LDC) (particularly in Africa) to transition out of poverty through green growth – the 4 decade strategic transition to a renewable energy-based world with temperature increases limited to 2 degrees; a coherent response to increasing global socio-economic, poverty, and climate challenges, with population growth and resources decrease and while ensuring conservation to maintain species balance, inclusion to maintain human balance, and digitalization to manage the low carbon shift. He identified the massive potential dividends ahead for LDC’s through travelism (the travel and tourism supply and demand chains) as a universal services export, a producer of wealth and jobs, a catalyst for other economic activity, and a key industry to increase human understanding and happiness.

Speech at