Whether or not Kenya is a tourist destination of choice has never been in question; not when the country is endowed with such irresistible natural beauty like the Big Five that effortlessly attracts visitors.
Where game is concerned, Kenya has all the big species that visitors love to see. The biggest challenge has been in harnessing what we have to greater advantage.
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Our tourism industry prospects are beginning to look up after the 2014 ignominious period when attacks by the Somalia based terrorist group Al Shabaab threatened the industry. The resultant travel advisories were not good for our tourism industry.
However, the resilience of Kenyans is such that we have overcome and are back on track to promoting our tourism industry. At the 25th Africa edition of the World Travel Awards in Durban, South Africa, Kenya’s Masai Mara National Reserve and the Diani Beach were ranked Africa’s leading National Park and Beach respectively. In the face of serious competition being put up by challengers like South Africa and Eqypt this is no mean achievement.
But having received such accolades, it is not to say we should sit back and congratulate ourselves. This ranking challenges other tourist destinations around Africa to invest more in their tourism industries. The only option this leaves us is to double our efforts to guarantee we stay at the top.
There is need for more investment in security to boost the confidence of visitors. We need more incentives for both foreign and local tourists and to aggressively market Kenya internationally. We cannot afford complacency.