KTB to Market Kenya as Medical Destination to Boost Tourism

Kenya Tourism Board plans to market the country as a medical tourism destination due to the rising number of international visitors seeking treatment at local hospitals.

The Board yesterday signed a Memorandum Of Understanding with medical travel company A&K gobal health as part of KTB's market campaigns to boost medical tourism in the country, mainly targeting tourists from East and Central African region.

According to KTB's managing director Muriithi Ndegwa, the campaign is in line with the agency's strategic plan for 2013 to 2017 which includes promotion of medical and wellness tourism.

"This is one of the flagship products we agreed to promote in order to diversify our market and increase tourist spend," said Ndegwa during the signing at the KTB headquarters in Nairobi.

Muriithi noted that Africans seeking medical services abroad spend on average between $20,000 (Sh1.9 million) and $40,000 (Sh3.9 million) per visit, making this niche a high revenue earning product for tourism.

"Kenya has a rich repository of doctors. We want to reach out to local and regional markets to have people undertake procedures here instead of going out of the continent," said Ndegwa.

The product will be aligned with other tourism products such as hotels to stay when visitors come for medical care, which will also sell related products such as parks among other attractions.

Travel, medical and accommodation will be sold as a package.

Meanwhile Tourism Cabinet secretary Phyllis Kandie has said business tourism is also a key niche for the revival of the sector.

Speaking at the inauguration of Kenyatta International Convention Centre chairman Omingo Magara, Kandie said Kenya currently ranked second in Africa after South Africa in business conferencing and is currently working on the construction of major convention centres to become the top regional destination for meetings.