Kenya to show off at Milan festival

September 22, 2008

, NAIROBI, September 21 – Kenya will get the rare chance to showcase the country’s tourism product at the Milan fashion week before an audience of nearly 1.3 million.

The Kenyan delegation, to be led by Tourism minister Najib Balala, will be staging a cultural festival at the event which is set to kick off on Wednesday. It will comprise Italian tour operators based in Kenya, cultural dance troupes, artists, Kenya Utalii College, Kenya Wildlife Service, KICC, and Ministry of Trade among others.

Tourism Permanent Secretary Rebecca Nabutola revealed that the opportunity was as a result of an exclusive invitation by the Mayor of Milan as a goodwill gesture towards the country’s tourism recovery efforts.

She said the cultural week will run concurrently with an economic forum that will be led by the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Trade Uhuru Kenyatta.

The sector which was enjoying its peak last year took a serious beating early this year due to the post election violence the rocked the country as result of a disputed election.

“Through this event we are hoping to erase any bad images that this people may still have due to the violence,” Nabutola said.

There is a lot of potential in this source market and we want to take up the opportunity to make Italians aware of other destinations other than Malindi which is very popular with them.”

Last year the country received 84,263 Italian tourists, overtaking Germany to become the third largest market. Speaking at the same forum Kenya Tourism Board Managing Director Dr Ongonga Achieng observed that Italy had remained a key tourism market for Kenya alongside the UK, Germany and the US.

“This is one of the key markets we are allocating some major resources, we want to re-launch our winter sales during this event which is part of our reassurance mission” Achieng said.

There are currently three charter flights operating from Italy to Mombasa and one scheduled flight by Air Italy. The Italian market was adversely affected by the post election crisis with a drop of about 77 percent in the first half of the year.

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