The increase of Sino-African interactions in trade, aid and investments has attracted Chinese tourists to Africa. The Beijing Action Plan of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) outlines China’s cultural diplomacy in Africa, delineating a number of areas of cultural cooperation: education; press, publishing and media; and tourism and people-to-people exchange programs in academia and think tanks among young people, women and athletes. Though scholars of International relations (IR) have detected that tourism is one way of manifesting soft power, they do not feel comfortable nor ready to place the promotion of tourism into standard IR discourse. This is in contrast to scholars of tourism studies who have recognized the political nature of China’s outbound tourism, particularly to less-developed areas such as Africa. In this project, we interview governmental officials, travel agents and Chinese tourists in Africa to understand the nexus between China's outbound tourism and soft power diplomacy.This project is sponsored by the Faculty of Arts, University of Helsinki, in cooperation with Dr Obert Hodzi (University of Helsinki) and Dr. Niall Duggan (University College Cork, Ireland).