The tourism sector is cashing in on the March 4 peaceful general election to market Kenya as a safe destination for tourism and business. Tourism Permanent Secretary Ruth Solitei today told a gathering of Africa travel agents that the peaceful election has endorsed the country as a safe destination for all economic activities and especially tourism that depends a lot on visitor’s safety.
The PS was speaking at the ongoing South Africa tourism exhibition in Durban where over 20 Kenyan travel companies led by Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) are attending a three-day exhibition that has attracted about 15,000 exhibitors from Africa. “ Kenya as a tourist destination can only do better thanks to the country’s repositioning with freshness and zeal soon after the peaceful general election held in March this year under a new constitutional dispensation,” the PS told the travel agents.
The tourism sector, she said depends much on the safety of a country and regretted that the fall of 2.3% arrival numbers to the country by sea and air last year with 1.236 million arrivals compared to 1.265 Million in 2011 is attributed among other factors general election uncertainties. She expressed optimism that current environment will be a major boost to the tourism industry and asked the travel agents selling Kenya to market country’s diversity with confidence on the safety of travelers.
KTB Managing Director Muriithi Ndegwa said the marketing agency has placed a lot of focus on the Africa, Regional and the UAE market which he noted have shown a lot of resilience at the backdrop of the euro zone crisis biting the Europe market. Ndegwa told the travel agents that the devolved government structures will reinforce KTB strategy on product diversification since every county will be identifying their unique and distinct tourism products for marketing.
“Despite Kenya being known for beach and wildlife safaris, tourist preferences and tastes have changed dramatically with travelers becoming more adventurous and keen on sampling diversified tourism product, we will live up to their expectations,” says Ndegwa. Last year, the UAE recorded a 91.6% growth from the previous year with 40,485 arrivals from 21,128 in 2011. South Africa recorded a 6.1% growth with 40,707 arrivals in 2012 up from 38,354 in 201. Uganda posted about 30% growth from 42,674 visitors in 2011 to 55,449 visitors last year.