Kenya-India tourism ties get shot in the arm as Nairobi hosts convention

From left: Sarova Hotels and Resorts MD Jimi Kariuki, OTOAI President Riaz Munshi, the organisation's vice-President Shravan Bhalla and Kenya Tourism Board acting Chief executive John Chirchir during the launch of a tourism convention at Sarova Stanley Hotel, Nairobi on Friday. [Edward Kiplimo, Standard]

Prominent tour operators and media representatives from India are in Kenya for a tourism convention under the Outbound Tour Operators Association of India (OTOAI).

The event is aimed at fostering collaboration and strengthening ties between Kenya and India in the field of tourism.

The convention, hosted by Sarova Hotels, showcases the immense potential for growth and cooperation between the two nations.

Speaking at the convention, Kenya Tourism Board Chief Executive John Chirchir emphasised the importance of India as a key source market.

Mr Chirchir said the visit not only builds confidence but also serves as a catalyst for effective packaging and promotion of Kenya as a premier destination in India.

“There is a gap which we need to close quickly. Bringing tour operators out of India, to come to Kenya, to experience the products first hand is very important in building confidence and trust,” he said.

“It helps them to have that motivation on how to package Kenya as a destination and to push it very powerfully.”

OTOAI President Riaz Munshi expressed confidence that the convention would provide its members with valuable insights into Kenya, facilitating better collaboration with Indian travellers, and pointing out the importance of leveraging technology to enhance the tourism industry.

“We have designed each programme, keeping in mind how we can grow our business by using technology to our advantage.

“Instead of talking about change Chat-Gpt and AI as a threat to our business, we will learn to leverage and take advantage of it in promoting our business,” he said.

The over 150 delegates are expected to explore new possibilities, strengthen partnerships, and contribute to the ever-growing bond between Kenya and India in the realm of tourism.

Sarova Hotels, Resorts and Lodges Managing Director Jimi Kariuki expressed gratitude for the hotel being chosen as the host for the OTOAI convention.

“It is indeed a great pleasure for Kenya and also for Sarova to have been selected to be the host of this convention. It’s a shot in the arm for tourism,” he said.

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