Kenya expects Obama's visit to ease travel alerts from the West
01 April 2015, 08:18
Nairobi - U.S. President Barack Obama's planned visit to Kenya in July will help boost the country's tourism dented by increased terror attacks and travel advisories from some Western countries, the country's tourism marketers said on Tuesday.
The Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) said the visit will also show the world that Kenya is safe and open for business.
"Obama's visit is timely since it will go a long way in boosting KTB's reassurance global and domestic campaigns among key tourism source markets on Kenya's safety for tourism business," KTB Managing Director Muriithi Ndegwa said in a statement issued in Nairobi.
U.S. Ambassador to Kenya Robert Godec announced on Monday Obama will visit Kenya in July to attend the Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) in Nairobi. Godec said the meeting, first time to be held in Sub-Saharan Africa, will bring together senior government officials, business leaders and international organizations.
Kenya will co-host the summit with the U.S. government from July 24 to July 26.
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The envoy said Obama's visit will build on the success of the August 2014 U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit, and continue efforts to work with countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, including Kenya, to accelerate economic growth, strengthen democratic institutions, and improve security.
It is expected that the visit will also see Obama visit Kogello village in Western Kenya where his father grew up, and which he himself visited in 2006 when he served his first term in the Senate. He also visited the home areas in 1983 and in 1995.
KTB said the visit by Obama is a big endorsement on Kenya as a conferencing destination as the country prepares to be the first country in Sub-Saharan Africa to host the annual summit launched in 2009.
"We welcome the announcement and consider it as a valid endorsement of Kenya as a destination that many are eager to visit and an indication of the prowess of the destination to host international meetings. This is in spite of the challenges of insecurity," said Ndegwa.
The U.S. is the second leading tourism source market for Kenya, and has had a steady growth save for the recent times when the destination perception has been challenged. Most Americans are keen on Kenya's safari and adventure products as well as on conservation and eco-tourism.
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KTB expects the visit by the sitting American leader and hosting of the global summit will help boost the country's tourism which has been hit hard travel advisories.
Ndegwa said recent reports on insecurity and Ebola fears have negatively painted the image of the country and therefore lowering her brand equity.
KTB said Obama's planned visit was a key message on the confidence the country had gained towards restoration of security and other social and economic programs.
According to Ndegwa, Obama's planned visit should also serve to entice other countries to consider relaxing their travel advisories to Kenya.
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