Global Summit to boost Kenya Tourism. This week’s Global Entrepreneurship summit will present a huge opportunity for Kenya’s struggling tourism. Preceding other key events that will see thousands of high profile business delegates visit Nairobi, the summit will be the ignition needed to reawaken the sector from its sickbed. The sector has been battered by a series of insecurity incidents, which attracted travel advisories from key source markets.
The tourism ministry says the country is prepared to make a lasting impression on the visitors at the summit. The spotlight will focus on the summit particularly because it will be attended by US President Barack Obama and a host of prominent titans. The 3,000 delegates who will visit Kenya this weekend could be turned into crucial ambassadors for the tourism industry, which has suffered multiple blows from terrorist attacks. President Obama’s delegation will comprise about 200 journalists who will show the world what Kenya has to offer.
The Kenya Tourism Board has since taken journalists on a tour of various attraction sites to make them adequately informed and hence become agents of the good news to the visitors. The trade summit precedes the African Travel Tours conference in October and the World Public relations forum in November as well as the World Trade Organisation forum set for December.
Tourism, which has been Kenya’s second highest foreign exchange earner, touched its lowest last year after source markets kept off in response to travel advisories. International tourist arrivals declined by 11.1 per cent between 2013 and 2014 as the sector’s earnings shed 7.3 percent to Ksh87.1 billion from Ksh94 billion during the period.
The ministry says it is engaging various strategies to reverse the dwindling tourist numbers. Transport and infrastructure ministry is improving roads leading to the parks and enhancing aviation infrastructure to enable holiday makers to reach their destinations conveniently. The ministry is also upbeat about next month’s inaugural direct flight from China to Kenya by the China Southern Airlines as well as the anticipated return of German airline Lufthansa.
Last year, Kenya sent representatives to Nigeria, South Africa, Japan, UK, US and Germany to rejuvenate traditional source market as well as scout for new sources of holiday makers. Ambassadors in various countries have also been tasked with marketing Kenya as a favourite destination. They are also required to update the diaspora on the security situation in order to curb jitters caused by misinformation. Last year, the government cut landing charges by 40 per cent at Moi International Airport to shore up tourist arrivals at the coast.
By Edward Nankunda