KTB steps up marketing drive with call for domestic tourists

The Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) managing director Muriithi Ndegwa. PHOTO | FILE
The Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) managing director Muriithi Ndegwa. PHOTO | FILE 

The Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) on Monday scaled up its quest to revive the battered industry after it invited media houses and independent production houses to develop a communication campaign targeting domestic travellers.

In a notice published Monday, the agency invited bids from “competent and qualified media houses and/or TV production houses” to explore the available attractions sites in Kenya as way of promoting the hospitality industry.

“It’s an urgent exercise and we expect to roll it out as soon as possible,” KTB managing director Muriithi Ndegwa told the Business Daily on Monday.

The move to promote domestic tourism comes as foreign visitors begin to trickle back after months of shunning the country over insecurity concerns.

Kenya’s hospitality segment has previously boomed as close to 1.6 million foreign visitors – mainly from Europe and the US – arrive annually to sample the country’s wildlife and beaches.

In the last three years, however, the industry has been on a decline trajectory after Somali-based Al-Shabaab militias stepped up their attacks on the country in 2013 with countries like Britain, the US, France and Australia issuing travel adversaries.

The coastal region including Mombasa, Kilifi and Watamu were the most affected with a good number of hotels closing down or cutting jobs.

Late last year, the government released Sh450 million as part of Sh7.1 billion tourism marketing budget to woo foreign tourists after key source markets lifted travel advisories against Kenya.

The KTB has recently entered into an advertising pact with US-based global news network Cable News Network (CNN) to showcase Kenya’s attractions in its programmes to audiences in Europe and North America.

Last year, the State withdrew the advertising deal after the network referred to Kenya as a hot bed of terror. The deal was later reinstated after a top CNN official flew to the country to apologise to President Uhuru Kenyatta.