KENYA has evolved its tourism offering over the years and from a traditional safari and beach destination, the country is now looking to market itself as a sporting destination, in particular for golf tourism.
According to Cecily Mbarire, assistant Minister of Tourism: “We are currently building an 18-hole golf course on the coast, which will be an ideal destination for golfing enthusiasts. Besides, we are also keen to encourage tourists to experience our cultural and ecotourism products.”
Through targeting multiple-traveller segments such as weekend breaks, family markets, honeymooners, luxury travel, Mice and Fit and package holidays, Kenya has seen a growth in its Arab clientele over the years.
“Tourism in the last year has performed much better than anticipated, especially in view of the fact that we were just coming out of a tumultuous 2008, when the country witnessed a lot of political violence. We came out of that and went straight into a period of global economic meltdown – but we came out of it pretty positively. Our benchmark year was 2007, when arrivals surpassed the two million mark and tourism revenues hit $1 billion,” said Mbarire.
“By the end of 2009, we had recovered 92 per cent of our arrivals from 2007. The Middle East market share formed about 2.5 per cent of that and by the end of 2009 we witnessed about 12,000 arrivals from the UAE market alone.”
With a lot of potential from emerging markets, Kenya has plans to invest heavily for both trade and consumers. “We realised that even in 2008, the UAE market was very resilient as compared to other markets. This was an indication that we need to now diversify and tap our emerging markets like the Middle East and Eastern Europe and not depend heavily on our traditional markets which are Europe and the Americas. Looking ahead there is going to be a lot of marketing effort into these emerging markets and at a higher scale,” said Mbarire.
“We are also work closely with Emirates Holidays and have successfully trained more than 500 agents already on the destination and how to sell Kenya to the region.”
Kenya Tourism Board was awarded the ‘Most Supportive National Tourist Organisation, Middle East & Indian Ocean for 2010’ at the recently held Emirates Holidays World event in Dubai.
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