Tourism sector players must diversify their products to embrace local communities in order to attract younger visitors who are no longer interested in traditional offerings, Tourism and Wildlife Principal Secretary Joe Okudo has said.
Mr Okudo said the ministry is keen on promoting the changes through the recently gazetted Tourism Promotional Fund.
The fund will support development, marketing and branding of the tourism sector.
Mr Okudo said the sector’s landscape had significantly shifted and that there was no need for tourism players to continue marketing their products using the same old system.
“It is worth noting that millennials are no longer interested in travelling to the Mara for four hours or staying in hotels. What they are keen on is spending time embracing cultural practices of places and people they visit,” he said at the annual Tourism Federation’s Tourism gala in Nairobi on Friday.
Kenya Tourism Federation Chairman Mohammed Hersi said the tourism private sector was keen to push the sustainability agenda as a way of ensuring a future for the industry.
“We want the tourism dollar to trickle down to everybody by allowing tourists who are more keen on experientials to enjoy the same; by engaging with communities and their day to day lives, as opposed to the old way of enjoying products by merely observing what is going on around them,” said Mr Hersi.
“Tourism contributes to over 60 percent of the sector’s earnings and this number can go higher, if we partner and educate communities on the best sustainable tourism practices.”
The event had participation from affiliate tourism industry stakeholders, a wide cross section of government agencies, industries and other partners that indirectly benefit from the tourism sector.
In 2018, the country’s tourism earning grew by 31 percent to Sh157 billion from Sh 119 billion in 2017.