KTB: Tourism industry near full recovery to pre-Covid levels

 Kenya Tourism Board Chief Executive John Chirchir. [David Gichuru, Standard]

The tourism sector is on a path to full recovery, the Kenya Tourism Board Chief Executive John Chirchir has said.

While awarding 10 winners of the Tembea Kenya na Bata campaign, Mr Chirchir said collaborations such as the one they had with Bata in the campaign have contributed to the growth of domestic tourism.

The chair said the collaboration was a success in promoting domestic tourism and making it thrive.

“We have gone through challenging times from Covid-19, but we have seen recovery. But it was the time of Covid that brought me to realise and appreciate the importance of domestic tourism,” he said.

“The tourism sector is at about 96 per cent recovery to 2019 figures, hence it is rightly on the path to an accelerated growth trajectory."

Mr Chirchir noted that domestic tourism would continue to receive attention in the board’s marketing campaign to ensure it grows and contributes its rightful share to the tourism numbers.

It was noted that there is a shift in how Kenyans book, plan for travel and discover new destinations.

“This partnership has exemplified the private-public sector partnership and collaboration - harnessing our collective resources, creativity and marketing expertise to show the unparalleled beauty of magical Kenya to a wider audience,” he said, noting that the power of partnership is great.

According to Chirchir, collaborative efforts will stimulate local travel demand through innovative digital marketing strategies and on-ground activation to showcase diversity for Kenya’s domestic tourism providers.

To showcase Magical Kenya, the tourism board says it leveraged the power of digital marketing, given its reach, influence and ability to share.

“Kenya travellers, particularly the youth, are very digital savvy. This helps us to get into their mind in an argyle and connected way that is so native to them and show our brands," he said.

“This campaign has provided invaluable insights into leveraging the power of digital media to captivate audiences with unique experiences offered by destination Kenya.”

 The board says it will leverage those learnings to enhance its digital marketing capabilities.

The months that coincide with school holidays have been said to be better performing in local tourism. “International travel is growing but domestic travel continues to be the bedrock of our tourism,” Chirchir said.

Low-cost carriers are also emerging as key in connecting Kenyans to various destinations that will see domestic tourism continue to thrive.

Bata Kenya Managing Director Benson Okumu said the Tembea Kenya na Bata campaign is feeding into their mandate of the Buy Kenya Build Kenya initiative. Okomu said the campaign will support and promote businesses and improve knowledge of local tourism.

While acknowledging that domestic tourism is a key segment, Chirchir said tourism is back to full recovery.

“We expect that by quarter one, we will have fully recovered and we will be talking about growth and transformational growth. Domestic tourism has been a key pillar that has sustained Kenya’s tourism post-Covid,” he said.