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Kenya launches global on-line campaign to woo tourists

06 June 2014, 08:13

Nairobi - Kenya's tourism marketers have launched a global on-line media campaign on tourism recovery as part of the strategies to reassure tourists of the country's safety.

The campaign under the hashtag headline #Why I Love Kenya will see Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) rally tourists, celebrities, corporate bodies, and friends of tourism sector to tell the world about the uniqueness of the country despite the earlier travel advisories issued by a few western countries.

"I appeal to Kenyans to rally together and use the hashtag why I love Kenya to spread the word that Kenya is the country to visit and get the country tourism flourishing," KTB Managing Director Muriithi Ndegwa said on Thursday.

The campaign will cover the continent of Africa and all the main markets in Europe.

The move comes against the backdrop of travel advisories issued by some of the foreign missions from the top tourist source markets, a situation that has damaged the destinations image.

The campaign also comes as Cabinet Secretary for East African Community and Tourism Phyllis Kandie left the country on Thursday, leading a delegation to Nigeria to woo tourists from the West African nation.

"We are also planning to partner with Kenya Airways in this framework and see how we will facilitate easy movement," Kandie said.

Kandie maintained that the move to encourage intra-Africa tourism does not mean Nairobi will neglect traditional markets, especially the European countries and the United States.

"All we want is to diversify and we will try and promote business tourists and also tourists for leisure. We have never really targeted our African brothers and sisters as potential tourists and this is the time," she told journalists in Nairobi.

As the world's leading safari destination, Kenya will encourage audience to send good-will messages accompanied with images of tourism sites through the social media platform.

Ndegwa said it was reassuring to note that despite the travel advisories, tourists had demonstrated their love for and confidence in Kenya and would continue with their holidays in the country.

"I am happy to note that the beginning of the new 8th wonder of the world, that is the annual wildebeest migration in Maasai Mara Game Reserve, will trigger more bookings as a result of expected increase of tourists to the country," he said.

Kandie who was in China last week said the two nations would be able to experience rich cultural exchange.

Nigerian tourism minister Chief Edem Duke mentioned the problem of terrorism, saying that it is not an African problem but a global issue, and that it should not be used as an excuse to collapse the sector.

Duke said Kenya and Nigeria are now determined to go beyond the terrorism challenge and support their tourism sectors which have been adversely affected.

"What we need to do is to support the governments on the continent of Africa and not try to humiliate our leaders by making it look like they are to blame," Duke said.

Kandie also clarified marketing campaigns will still target destinations for tourists from Britain, U.S., Germany and other Western nations despite a recent slump as a result of security fears.

She said her recent tour to China was aimed at seeking alternative sources of tourists. "I met my counterpart in China and discussed how to promote tourism among other investment areas, " Kandie said.

Tourism officials said tour operators selling Kenya in the Chinese market have reported positive forward bookings for this year. Kenya currently receives about 40,000 tourists from China annually.

 - Xinhua

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