Kenya to focus on domestic tourists to revive tourism sector

October 23, 2015 6:05 am 

NAIROBI, Oct. 22 — Kenya said on Wednesday it plans to focus on increasing the number of domestic tourists in order to revive the sector that has been affected by insecurity.

Cabinet Secretary for East African Affairs, Commerce and Tourism Phyllis Kandie said currently domestic tourism contributes about 47 percent of the total bed nights up from 37 percent five years ago.

"Local tourists will help to cushion the tourism sector from the fluctuating number of international tourists," Kandie said during the Nairobi Tourism Stakeholders and Marketing Development Representatives (MDRs) summit.

The day-long event brought over 100 participants to deliberate on ways to diversify Kenya's tourism source markets.

Kandie said the role of domestic tourism is bound to grow as it now includes visitors from the East African Community member states.

She added that the performance of the sector has in the past two years recorded an all-time low as a result of myriad of challenges key among them being insecurity. She said that international visitors are very sensitive to any perception of insecurity.

"As a result of negative publicity by the media, our destination image has been perceived negatively and this has dealt a blow to the propensity of visitors to travel to Kenya," she stated.

The tourism ministry is currently implementing a one year tourism marketing and promotional campaign that will target key source markets in Europe, America, Asia and Africa.

Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) Managing Director Muriithi Ndegwa said conference tourism is one of the fastest growing sectors of the country's tourism industry.

"However, the segment will only thrive if we pay attention to other ingredients such as quality services for tourists," Ndegwa said.

Later this year, Kenya will hold a number of international conferences including the World Conference on Public Relations in Emerging Economies, African Travel Association (ATA) as well as the World Trade Organization Ministerial conference.

Ndegwa added that there are a number of new investments on accommodation facilities have come up in the recent past including international hotel chains such as the Radisson Blu, Kempinski, Marriot Hotels. (PNA/Xinhua)

JBP/EBP

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