Kenya eyes new tourism markets to help grow revenue
Posted Monday, May 11 2009 at 17:19
Kenya has identified key new markets and is investing in them to help grow the number of tourist arrivals into the country.
The United Arab Emirates, Russia, Eastern Europe and Africa are some of the emerging markets that have been identified as emerging markets that can help the destination grow its numbers to five million by 2012 as outlined in Vision 2030.
Speaking in South Africa over the weekend, Tourism Najib Balala said these markets have spending power and a huge potential for Kenya to grow its numbers and revenues.
“Many of these countries do not know Kenya and we want to introduce the destination to them,” he said.
He was speaking at Indaaba, one of the biggest travel fairs in the industry where Kenya is exhibiting for the first time following an agreement between the two governments earlier in the year.
Previously Kenya was locked out of the exhibition, which mainly allows South Africa Development Community (SADC) members to participate. Mr Balala received an award, The Good Safari Guide, presented by industry players in the region for the best tourism board, Kenya Tourism Board (KTB).
KTB partnered with Kenya Airways at the exhibition as part of a Sh50 million project to promote the destination in the region. The move will see Kenya marketed in most of the destinations served by the airline.
This partnership is expected to grow the number of arrivals from the region as there is huge potential to tap into the middle class in the region and get them to travel into Kenya, Mr Balala said.
Efforts to attract more tourists from the region between the Board and Kenya Airways were launched last month following a familiarization trip of African tour and travel operators as well as journalists.
Arrivals from the region into the country have remained low over the years, last year arrivals from the region declined by 2.2 per cent to 207,737 visitors.
The ministry has been working with the Ministry of Immigration on the referral visa that has been identified as one of the hindrances to growing the numbers.
In comparison, the region is a major source of tourists to the country with arrivals from Africa having grown by seven per cent last year. Most of these are from neighbouring countries and short-haul destinations like Kenya.
In addition to Africa, efforts to attract more visitors from the Middle East, especially Dubai, are in place with the Board and the minister having attended a trade fair last week.
“Kenya is not known in the Middle East and we want to reintroduce the destination in the Arabian market with various promotions,” Mr Balala said.