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Kenya eye growing intra-Africa tourism pie, hosts tour operators

NEWS
By Philip Mwakio | July 4th 2021

KTB CEO Dr Betty Radier takes on the archery experience at The Forest Adventure in Kireita. [Courtesy]

Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) has intensified efforts to market Kenya to the rest of Africa by targeting key source markets in the region.

Speaking aboard the Tamarind Dhow in Mombasa County, KTB Corporate Affairs Manager Wausi Walya, who represented Chief Executive Betty Radier, said the move would increase tourist arrivals at a time when global tourism is reeling from the effects of Covid-19.

“There is immense potential in both regional and the African market we are trying to capture. One of them is to play host to familiarisation trips like this one and entice the travel trade to sample what Magical Kenya destination has to offer,” she said.

Walya was speaking at a special cocktail for 15 travel and tour operators from Uganda, Rwanda and Ethiopia, who have been on a week-long product sampling of Kenya’s popular tourist destinations.

Positive growth

The visitors have been to Nairobi, Nanyuki, the Maasai Mara, Tsavo, Diani, Malindi and Watamu on a mission to see the various tourist attractions. Before Covid-19, tourism on the continent was on a positive growth trajectory.

Travel experts say tourism numbers on the continent have grown at a rate of 8.6 per cent over the past years compared to a global average of seven per cent.

Tourism in Africa is rated as the fastest-growing market in the world. Walya also stressed the need to actualise increased growth and collaboration between Africa’s tourism destinations to tap into the potential that exists in the continent.

She noted that promoting intra-Africa tourism could at the same time catalyse the generation of opportunities within the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

Kenya Airways General Manager for Kenya and North Africa Rose Kiseli promised to support the sector through flexible bookings and ticket prices. “We are seeing increased uptake in passengers now taking to flying with June this year being the best. People are getting confident to travel. Airlifts now average 60-65 per cent,” she said. The agents lauded the country’s tourism with Travelneza Uganda boss Laura Kagame singling out the unique hotel settings.

Alpine Travels from Rwanda Marketing Manager Niyonzima Fred lauded the Nairobi-Mombasa Madaraka Express Passenger train service saying it enables tourists to see the scenic Tsavo wildlife.

Ethiopia's Danex Tours and Travels Managing Director Daniel Melaku said the tourists were keen to visit the beach market that is popular with Ethiopian tourists.

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