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Kenya eyes more tourists from Africa, Asia

10 May 2013, 16:04

Nairobi - Kenya's tourism marketing body on Thursday launched a joint marketing drive to enable the East African nation woo more tourists from Africa, India and Asia including the domestic market.

Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) Managing Director Muriithi Ndegwa said the marketing drive will also be extended to cover the national carrier, Kenya Airways' destinations in Europe, Middle East and the Americas.

"We must not only enhance our attractiveness as the preferred tourist destination in all of our traditional markets but must also seek to collectively position Kenya as the tourists' choice on the continent to every potential visitor," he said during the signing of the partnership deal with Kenya Airways in Nairobi.

The joint marketing drive will target various tourist markets in Africa including Nigeria, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Ghana, Cameroon, South Africa, and Egypt. In Asia, Ndegwa said the drive will targets visitors from Bangkok, Guangzhou, Delhi and Mumbai as well as the domestic market.

"The effort will also be extended to cover Kenya Airways' destinations in Europe, Middle East and the Americas. The challenges that both our organizations face call for a major shift in the way we market ourselves in order for us to continue to attract business," Ndegwa added.

According to KTB, the Chinese market grew by 10 percent to record over 41 303 visitors in 2012.

India is the leading inbound market for Kenya among the Asian countries, the East African country's Ministry of Tourism, reported.

The 4 percent growth over 2011 is attributed to the fact that Indians have more disposable income and are seeking new destinations and experiences, according to KTB.

The tourism marketing body entered into a one-year joint marketing program aimed at boosting tourist arrivals into the country.

Under the deal inked in Nairobi, the national carrier will support the activities of KTB to the tune of 240 000 U.S. dollars while KTB will ensure Kenya Airways brand visibility at its tourism promotion forums as they seek to increase the number of tourists visiting.

Tourism players had rolled out plans to manage any crisis that could have emerged during and after March 4 general elections by placing some of their people on the ground in areas considered to be flash point areas to give updates in case of any changes to security situation so that tour operators can re-route visitors.

As a result of the 2007/2008 post election violence, earnings for the industry dropped by over 50 percent in first quarter 2008 from 200 million U.S. dollars to 92 million dollars as foreign visitors were hesitant to tour the country as a result of insecurity.

The tourism sector's contribution to employment generation has grown by about 3 percent annually and earnings per employee have been growing by 18 percent over the last five years, according to statistics from the Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA).

Kenya recorded 1.78 million tourists in 2012, a 0.3 percent decline compared to 2011 that had 1.78 million visitors. This is attributed to many factors including insecurity and the euro zone crisis.

The two organizations will also engage potential tourists through targeted events, festivals and regional road shows while also working with professional bodies and some of Kenya's top brands to grow the demand for travel within the country.

Ndegwa said the partnership was timely, and came at a time when both the airline and Kenya's tourism sector were experiencing reduced numbers as a result of increased competition and various challenges such as the Euro Zone Crisis and terrorism.

Kenya Airways Group CEO, Dr. Titus Naikuni said the partnership fits in well with the national carrier's strategy to expand into some of the fastest growing travel markets in Africa, India, Middle East and the Far East.

Naikuni said the tourism sector has remained one of the highest contributors to the economy and would be instrumental to the government's efforts to improve the economy and deliver essential social services.

"We need to diversify into the huge African market for our tourists. We are seeking to give more visibility and focus to our initiatives to market our country," he said, adding that the partnership which will enable them to give added visibility to business and the country.

Naikuni hoped the national carrier will maintain a dominant presence and growth in all existing routes whilst marketing Kenya as a tourist and business destination of choice.

He said the joint marketing drive will target similar customers, adding that by combining strengths and resources the two organizations have a unique opportunity to reach our target customers much more efficiently.

He said the partnership will complement the airline's 10-year fleet and route network expansion plan and take advantage of the on-going expansion and upgrade of local airports.

"This partnership will be a major boost to the attainment of the country's economic blueprint, Vision 2030," he noted.

- Xinhua


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