Kenya to focus on Europe and US in tourism revival

Kenya has decided to focus more on its traditional tourism source markets of Europe and the United States as it seeks to revive the ailing industry.

Apart from attending tourism events in Europe, the Ministry of Tourism and other agencies have been instructed to allocate more money for marketing.

Tourism CS Najib Balala is also spending a lot of time in Europe and America, where he is renewing and signing new contracts with tour operators, some of whom had stopped selling Kenya.

Germany’s Tui, one of the biggest tour operators in the world, resumed selling Kenya after they evacuated British tourists, following the attacks in Lamu.

“Developing new markets is not easy. We want to return to our old markets, where we are known for our beach and safari experiences as we develop new markets in Africa and the Far East,” Balala told the Star in Paris, where he is meeting tourism stakeholders.

Europe has traditionally been the key source market for Kenya, but recently the Kenya Tourism Board has been strengthening its efforts to promote the country to regional markets, as well as potential domestic travellers to compensate for the lower number of arrivals from abroad.

Direct flight links that are being established, such as to the US, could diversify source markets further.

In addition, the hotel industry is still expanding, despite the market being fairly saturated. Hotel industry investors are finding room for growth in the luxury accommodation sector, particularly in Nairobi’s business district, as seen by recent expansions by major international chains.

More low-cost chains are looking to expand outside the capital, with Asian hotels showing particular interest.

Balala has launched an aggressive campaign in France aimed at wooing tourists.

Kenya’s coastal tourism is collapsing, and part of the reason, according to CS Najib Balala, is Western travel warnings issued after attacks in Lamu county in 2014. “We are working very hard to improve security and infrastructure in these coastal areas,” Balala said, as he launched an aggressive campaign to woo tourists.

Source: The Star