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Kandie: Despite travel advisories, Kenya’s tourism back on track

NEWS
By Standard Reporter | Nov 3rd 2015 | 3 min read
By Standard Reporter | November 3rd 2015
NEWS
Tourism Cabinet Secretary Phyllis Kandie being interviwed by CNN's Richard Quest during the World Travel Market in London.

London: Kenya has joined hundreds of other destinations in taking her place at this year’s World Travel Market, London (WTM) whose theme is ‘WTM Means Business’.

Head of the Kenya delegation, Cabinet Secretary, East African Affairs, Commerce and Tourism, Mrs. Phyllis Kandie speaking to CNN Live this morning indicated that indeed while travel advisories have presented a number of challenges for Kenya’s tourism industry in the past, it is important to note that the Kenya has always remained open for business.

Last week’s announcement by the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office lifting its travel advisory for Malindi was welcome. Earlier in June, the FCO lifting of the advisory between Tiwi and Watamu, including Mombasa, and the US Government’s move to lift its travel advisory for most parts of the coastal region last month have all added to the strength of the coastal product which has continued to attract many visitors to Kenya.

“The safety of Kenya’s visitors, tourist destinations and wildlife is a key priority of the Kenyan government and we continue to assess security measures in place across the country including enhanced checks in public areas and an increased police to citizen ratio” , Said Mrs. Kandie.

“UK remains the number one market to Kenya which received over 117,000 British visitors in 2014 and we are keen to enhance these numbers”, the Cabinet secretary added.

2015 has been a landmark year for Kenya with US President Obama’s first state visit to Kenya when Kenya was the first Country in Africa to host the Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES). Kenya is now preparing for the official visit of Pope Francis later this month. Kenya’s brand therefore continues to soar in the global map and the tourism sector is keen to leverage on all these opportunities.

With areas north of Diani now open for business, Kenya Tourism Board will focus its 2016 strategy on highlighting Kenya’s coastal offering including white sandy beaches, a variety of wildlife, water sports, cultural festivals and areas of historical interest to draw visitors back to Kenya’s shores. The protection of wildlife forms the backbone of Kenya’s tourism industry and conservation will be a key focus for 2016. Kenya is leading the way in anti-poaching, educating communities and raising global awareness to combat poaching for sustainable tourism. 

Kenya is one of the world’s fastest growing economies and the government is confident that tourism will contribute more to Kenya’s economic development as it expands and diversifies.

KTB Managing Director, Muriithi Ndegwa, interacting with the Kenyan exhibitors expressed optimism about the opportunity to conclude deals at the fair and particularly encouraged  them to take full advantage of the ‘Speed Networking Forums’  to expand their contacts and tell of their  new products.  

Last year, WTM London 2014 facilitated a record 2.5 billion pounds worth of business deals between exhibitors and the WTM Buyers’ Club. This year is projected to translate into greater value than last year. Over 52,000 delegates attended the show last year which is one of the largest tourism fair in the world.

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