Poor marketing hurting tourism
12 June 2013, 15:28
Poor marketing strategies have in the recent years cost Kilifi County more than 90 percent of European tourist arrivals, investors in the tourism sector have said.
The investors added that deteriorating standards in establishments and poor environmental cleanliness worsened the situation yet demand for first class facilities and services especially in the Kenya’s Coast continued to grow.
They are planning to spend more than KES 10 million in promotional projects but also calling for concerted efforts to revive professional marketing programs while at the same time ensuring resorts elevated their standards to internationally acceptable levels.
Investors are hence being encouraged to pull resources together for ruthless marketing programs coordinated by professionals in local and international marketing circuits.
Talking to the Press in Malindi, the investors explained that the North Coast was the worst hit since it is losing tourists to neighbouring countries especially Zanzibar and Tanzania, the greatest competition for Italian tourists against Kenya.
“We have realized that Malindi and the Kilifi County in general has lost more than 90 per cent of tourists to Zanzibar and other destinations and time has come for us to wake up and launch ruthless marketing campaigns to rescue our destinations from collapse,” said Robby Marini, the chairman of the Investors Association of Kilifi County (IAKC)
Marini observed that since majority of tourists from Italy the main supplier of tourists to the Kilifi County resorts are now being diverted to Zanzibar and Tanzania among other destinations, sports and clean up efforts have been identified as key strategies towards unlocking the competition stalemate.
To avoid the continued loss of prospective tourist to other destinations, Marini suggested heightened and professional marketing locally and abroad.
Investors in tourism, he suggested, needed to launch strong partnerships to collectively access new and unexploited sources of guests instead of depending too much on traditional sources.
“We need to move out and aggressively market our resorts across the world and especially in newly emerging markets instead of depending almost entirely on traditional sources of tourists,” said Marini.
He said that while it was also possible to recover the Italian market, new marketing ideas were needed which should also be expanded to cover improved and innovative facilities commensurate with what was on offer in the other international destinations.
The Hotelier said that KES 5 million has been immediately set aside for a marketing project with his resort partnering with Rugby professionals in Kenya to use the sport as a marketing tool for the Kilifi County and Kenya in general as the key tourist destination at the Coast.
He said that a further KES 5 million would be availed for various marketing projects to specifically market resorts in the Kilifi County with all investors in tourism being encouraged to come together and participate in a single marketing strategy for the County.
Marini however urged the Central government as well as the Kilifi County authorities to support investors in the tourism sector by ensuring that cleanliness was improved at various resorts in the region while at the same time ensuring that security and infrastructure met the requirements of what was on offer internationally.
“Resorts in the Kilifi County and Kenya in general have a challenge to compete for guests with other markets where levels of cleanliness, security and infrastructure are up to the required standards, hence the reason why the governments at the devolved and national levels must improve things,” noted Marini.
The Hotelier challenged the hotel classification bodies in Kenya to work with international organizations in their efforts to check standards and offer stars or awards in accordance to proper and detailed study on the facilities in the region and the services and quality of hotel facilities on offer.
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