Tourism stakeholders at the Coast want the national government to tailor its marketing strategy to target and capitalise on millennial foreign tourists.
Amid rising numbers from newer emerging source markets like China and Russia, players in the hospitality industry reckon that numbers could be boosted by tapping into extravagant millennials who are not afraid to splurge money on travel.
“Most of our foreign holidaymakers are old and retired pensioners. But we want millennials to come into the fold...We can target them to sustain tourism,” Travellers Beach Hotel Marketing and Sales Manager Wafula Waswa said Monday.
He also urged the government to tap into the historical ties between Kenya and Britain to entice its citizens to revisit the country as tourists.
“We need to make more efforts to activate the market to ensure Kenyans participate in tourism and appreciate it by bringing their families to tourism sites. Kenyans abroad (diaspora) should also market and visit their motherland,” he added.
Hotel owners remain optimistic, saying an improved political climate after President Uhuru Kenyatta and opposition leader Raila Odinga closed ranks will help boost numbers.
According to the Kenya Association of Hotelkeepers and Caterers, the April holiday season averaged 70 per cent bed occupancy from 68 per cent in the same period last year. This, they say, was attributed to the improved political climate.
“We are enjoying stability which is acting as a catalyst to bring more tourists. As we speak, we have bookings from October to November. The only two months which is always a challenge is May and June rain seasons,” Diani Reef resort manager Amitabh Acharya said today.
They also urged the government to increase the number of daily trips offered by the Madaraka Express train.
“SGR is the most convenient means of transport for many Kenyans. This industry will be boosted if there are more trips from Mombasa to Nairobi and vice versa,” Eden Rock Hotel Malindi sales and marketing manager Daniel Ogechi said.
Currently, there are four daily trips connecting Mombasa and Nairobi, two of Kenya’s largest cities.