Kenya tourism has joined hundreds of other destinations at this year’s World Travel Market (WTM) in London which this year has the theme “WTM Means Business.”
The head of the Kenya delegation, Cabinet Secretary for East African Affairs, Commerce and Tourism, Mrs. Phyllis Kandie, spoke to CNN Live yesterday morning when she indicated that while anti-travel advisories have presented a number of challenges for Kenya’s tourism industry in the past, it is important to note that Kenya has always remained open for business. Last week’s announcement by the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office, lifting its travel advisory for Malindi was welcomed by the Kenyan tourism industry. Earlier in June, the FCO already lifted part of the advisory covering the coastal area between Tiwi and Watamu, including Mombasa, and the US Government’s move to lift its travel advisory for most parts of the coastal region last month have all added to the renewed appeal for Kenya’s coastal product which has continued to attract many visitors to Kenya.
“The safety of Kenya’s visitors, tourist destinations and wildlife is a key priority of the Kenyan government, and we continue to assess security measures in place across the country including enhanced checks in public areas and an increased police to citizen ratio. The UK remains the number one market for Kenya which received over 117,000 British visitors in 2014, and we are keen to enhance these numbers,” said Mrs. Kandie.
2015 has been a landmark year for Kenya with US President Obama’s first state visit to Kenya, being the first country in Africa to host the Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES). Kenya is now preparing for the official visit of Pope Francis later this month before in December the World Trade Organization’s bi-annual Ministerial Meeting is expected to bring as many as 7,000 delegates and visitors to Nairobi. Kenya’s brand, therefore, continues to soar once again among the global destinations, and the tourism private sector is keen to leverage on all these opportunities.
With areas north of Diani now once again cleared by the British and American Foreign Offices for business, the Kenya Tourism Board focused its 2016 strategy on highlighting Kenya’s coastal offering including white sandy beaches, a variety of wildlife, water sports, cultural festivals and areas of historical interest to draw visitors back to Kenya’s shores. The protection of wildlife forms the backbone of Kenya’s tourism industry, and conservation will be a key focus for 2016. Kenya is leading the way in Africa against poaching, in educating communities, and raising global awareness to combat poaching for sustainable tourism.
Kenya’s government is confident that tourism will once again contribute more to Kenya’s economic development as it expands and diversifies.
KTB’s Managing Director, Mr. Muriithi Ndegwa, was yesterday interacting with his country’s exhibitors at the combined Kenya, Uganda, and Rwanda stand. He expressed optimism about the opportunity to conclude deals at the fair and particularly encouraged exhibitors to take full advantage of the “Speed Networking Forums” to expand their contacts and tell of their new products.
Last year, according to data released by WTM’s organizers, the tourism trade show facilitated a record 2.5 billion pounds worth of business deals between exhibitors and the WTM Buyers’ Club. This year it is expected to top this amount considerably as global travel continues to grow. Over 52,000 exhibitors and delegates attended the show last year which is one of the largest tourism fairs in the world.