Tourism secretary Najib Balala has tapped hoteliers to help drive Kenya’s marketing campaign.
Mr Balala appointed top hoteliers to help with the development of tourism growth and marketing strategy for a sector that suffered a series of terrorism attacks that had deterred foreign visitors a few years ago.
The hoteliers will feed the Kenya Tourist Board (KTB) with new shifts in Kenya’s tourism sector to help promote the country as business and leisure travel destinations.
Among the executives picked for the coast working group are Mohammed Hersi (Pollmans Tours & Travels), Bobby Kamani (Diani Reef), Rakhee Kantaria (Leisure Lodge), Sheema Merali (Neptune Hotels), Alnoor Kanji (English Point Marina) and Hasnain Noorani (Pride Inn).
Their inclusion in the marketing of Kenya marks a shift from the previous strategy that divorced the industry captains from KTB work.
Kenya launched a tourism blueprint hinged on four pillars, including product development, beach strategy, infrastructure and marketing.
“The CS met the players from the coast to share views and growth plans around the beach strategy,” said the ministry’s spokesperson.
Kenya receives more than a million visitors annually from countries such as China, Germany, France and Britain who are attracted by big game safaris and sandy white beaches, especially in Diani.
The palm-fringed Diani beach was this year voted the best in Africa World Travel Awards 2018.
“The private sector along with the Ministry of Tourism and KTB needs to work closely together to launch an independent international, domestic and digital marketing campaign for Destination Diani,” said Mr Kamani.
“It is a two way street. The private sector needs to be involved in the conceptualisation and implementation of tourism strategy.”
The sector working groups will be meeting monthly with the ministry and KTB to track progress.
Kenya is likely to earn 15 per cent more this year from tourism as the number of visitors grows by 17 to 18 per cent, the government has forecast.
The country had 1.47 million tourists last year and earned Sh120 billion from their visits.
The forecast was based on a growing local market and new daily, direct flights to New York by Kenya Airways, which will attract more American tourists.
Along with agricultural exports and cash sent home by Kenyans living abroad, tourism is one of the top foreign exchange earners.