, PRETORIA, South Africa, May 23 – Kenya’s mission in South Africa has launched an aggressive marketing and awareness campaign to woo more tourists to Kenya, High Commissioner Patrick Wamoto has said.
Wamoto said with the recent travel advisories against visits to Kenya by key traditional tourism source markets, contacts have been increased in South Africa to market the country’s potential in the sector.
The envoy, also accredited to Lesotho and Swaziland, spoke to the Presidential Strategic Communication Unit (PSCU) in his Pretoria office ahead of the inauguration of President Jacob Zuma in Pretoria on Saturday.
President Uhuru Kenyatta, who is the chair East African Community, is among the invited Heads of State and Government expected to grace the occasion.
“We have increased interactions with our South African friends to ensure advisories issued by western countries do not affect tourists from the country,” Wamoto said.
With the aggressive and heavy investment in the campaign, the envoy noted “South Africa is set to become our fastest growing source market in the continent.”
The campaign aimed at courting other tourist markets is part of Government’s strategy to diversify tourist source markets without abandoning the traditional markets.
He said South Africa is the leading source of tourists to Kenya from Africa after Uganda, with 40,000 arrivals last year.
“As part of growing intra-regional tourism on the continent, we are wooing more tourists from the country,” the envoy added.
President Kenyatta is on record wooing tourists from non-traditional markets amid travel advisories issued by western countries to mitigate the effects.
On relations between the two countries, the envoy said bilateral trade is managed within the framework of the Kenya-South Africa Joint Trade Commission.
“South Africa has formulated a regional strategy for East Africa with Kenya as its strategic partners due to its position as the strongest and most vibrant economy in the region,” he said.
He said the two countries have finalised a number of agreements and Memoranda of Understanding to boost bilateral trade.
On trade imbalance, Wamoto said the two countries are working together on removal of barriers and to open up new markets to bridge the gap.
To combat poaching and illegal ivory trade that threatened endangered wildlife species in Kenya and the continent, the envoy said the two countries are working on joint innovative policing strategies.
He also said the Government was working closely with South Africa to ensure sustainable peace and stability in Somalia, South Sudan and Congo.
South Africa sees a prosperous and stable Kenya as important for the stability of the region and the continent, the envoy said.