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Govt urged to take advantage of Obama’s visit to market Kenya

21 July 2015, 10:52 Jose Mwanake

Mombasa - The government should use President Barack Obama’s visit as an opportunity to market the country’s tourism sector to Western countries, hoteliers have said.

The Kenya Association of Hotelkeepers and Caterers said this is the opportune moment for Kenya to come up with enthusiastic marketing strategies.

Speaking in Mombasa Monday, KAHC Coast executive director, Sam Ikwaye said: “Obama’s visit should help Kenya reclaim its lost glory in tourism industry.”

He said the government, through Kenya Tourism Board, should now focus on vigorous marketing campaigns in the United States, United Kingdom, Germany and other nations.

“His (Obama) visit is a vote of confidence and the government should take advantage of it,” he said.

He said they expect many international tourists and investors to start jetting into the country after the Global ENtrepreneurship Summit, which will officially be opened by Barack Obama and Uhuru Kenyatta.

Read Also: Barack Obama is a brand in Kenya

“By November and December, we are hopeful that the country will start receiving international charter planes and cruise ships,” said Ilwaye.

He said if security measures that have been put in place remain, they will receive thousands of international guests next year.

Kenya lost about 70 percent of international arrivals after the spate of terror attacks by Al Shabab terror group that rocked the country last year.

UK issued travel advisories against Kenya in May last year, leading to the evacuation of over 500 British nationals who were touring the Coast.

The travel advisory, which lasted 13 months, has since been reversed last month after the British High Commissioner Christian Turner said he was satisfied with security measures that were put in place.

Ikwaye said they expect more guests after the advisories were lifted, but noted that Kenya should continue with the marketing campaigns without relenting.

“This is not enough. We should continue to market Kenya and at the same time the hoteliers should focus on renovating their facilities to match the international standards,” said Ikwaye.

The hotelier also said the government should ensure the infrastructure is well developed to serve as tourists’ attraction.

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