KTB eyes regional markets as digital platforms boost tourism

Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) is keen to develop markets in Africa as numbers from the West dwindle. This is because markets in the region are not sensitive to issues such as security. 

Western countries have grown overtly sensitive to insecurity and have time and again issued travel advisories against Kenya.

This is according to the new KTB Chairman Jimi Kariuki. Mr Kariuki told Weekend Business in an interview that the board’s marketing strategy will particularly target landlocked countries such as Rwanda and Ethiopia, and others in West Africa, since they do not have the blessings of a coast line, and others don’t have wildlife.

“We are treating our regional markets as our core markets. We are grateful especially to countries like Uganda which recorded the highest level of growth at 40 per cent last year,” Kariuki (pictured) said.

He said the board was allocated a budget of Sh4 billion, and most of this money will go towards recovery programmes for tourism as well as incentives such as the charter incentive programme, which is aimed at enticing charter planes ferrying tourists.

Apart from these programmes, most of the money will also go towards digital marketing which is the new route to follow as opposed to traditional marketing.

“A lot of people are going online to check tourism destinations. They are using channels such as TripAdvisor and social media tools to know about potential destinations. We want to go digital in our marketing,” Kariuki explained. “We are not very keen on traditional marketing channels such as brochures and billboards since they are not very potentially attractive,” he added.

Kariuki also cited competition from other destinations in the continent such as South Africa as one of the major challenges the board is facing. The high cost of borrowing in the country, which has left local tourists with little money to spend on travel is another challenge.

However, the KTB chair said support from the Government, which is coming in form of new infrastructure projects and security being rejuvenated as one of the key issues that are helping the board market ‘Magical Kenya’ better.

The board is also keen to continue the partnership it has with national carrier Kenya Airways. In September last year, KTB signed an MoU with KQ to jointly market the country by venturing into new routes. The partnership saw KQ brand their Dreamliner 787 aircraft ‘Magical Kenya’. “KQ travels in more than 50 destinations and this will surely give us a lot of visibility,” Kariuki said.

He also revealed that KTB is looking for a new Chief Executive Officer to stir the board’s executive mandate. Former CEO Muriithi Ndegwa’s term expired in February this year, and was replaced by Jacinta Nzioka on an acting capacity.

Source:  Standard Digital