Improved safety beckons more tourists, industry players say

Tourists on a boat at the coast. FILE PHOTO | NMG
Tourists on a boat at the coast. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Stakeholders in Kenya's multi-billion shilling tourism sector say they are optimistic of its prospects as the number of bookings rise.

Despite 2017 being an election year, industry players say they expect to register booming business this year due to improved security at the coast.

Neptune Hotels regional director of operations Vickram Korla commended the State for boosting security and helping restore the hotel and tourism business.

"The industry is now better placed to withstand the politics sweeping through the region because the government is keen to secure tourism earnings, encourage more visitors to the coast and lure new investments," he said.

Brave face


The government reckons there is increased confidence in Kenya due to stability enjoyed in the last three years.

Sector players and the State have put on a brave face despite American and UK government warnings to its citizens that things could turn violent during party primaries and ahead of the August 8 General Elections.

It is also feared that Laikipia could take years to recover from bad global publicity garnered from a widely-reported attack on conservationist Kuki Gallmann.

Tourism stakeholders and ranch-owners in Laikipia County recently formed a taskforce to address the ranch invasions by pastoralists in a bid to protect their properties and investments.

"The UK is a market that really matters and we are engaging locally and internationally market strategies to boost tourism," Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) public relations manager Wausi Walya re-assured on Tuesday.

Promotion drive

KTB has been on an aggressive marketing drive to promote the country as a tourist destination.

The State agency recently inked deals with Indian filmmakers and a top cricket team to attract more visitors from the Asian giant.

India is currently Kenya’s third largest tourist source market.

Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda have also established an online portal to jointly market the countries' tourism products.

Additional reporting by Lynette Mukami