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Balala, Delta sign tourism deal

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 18 – Tourism Minister Najib Balala and the management of Delta Airlines have finally reached a partnership agreement to promote Kenya in the US ahead of the inaugural flight slated for June this year.

Among the joint marketing proposals discussed was the promotion of destination Kenya through the airline’s wide customer relations tools, which include an in-flight newsletter and onboard video programmes.

According to the Senior Marketing and Communication Manager of the Airline, Jeanne Wilson, who met with the Minister at the airline’s headquarters in Atlanta on Saturday, Delta has the largest frequent flier database in the world that could be reached through its well-established marketing channels.

“The Airline also has its own tour operations subsidiary, “Delta Vacations” which operates from New York that would provide a perfect partnership for a joint mass advertising campaign targeting the wider American society,” Ms Wilson said.

Delta Airline is set to launch its maiden flight to Nairobi on June 2 this year using a Boeing 757-300ER with a 221 seat capacity that will be flying in from Atlanta and shipping in more than 800 travellers per week.

American travellers to Kenya will be able to fly to Nairobi without the hassle of going through the European capitals where it takes more than 30 hours, and has remained a major deterrent for tourism from the US. The direct flight will reduce the trip to only 12 hours.
Tourism Minister Najib Balala observed that this would be a big boost for the tourism sector in Kenya, which is yet to attain full recovery from the effect of last year’s post election crisis.

“The direct air connection between the US and Nairobi and the election of President Barack Obama is the best opportunity we have ever had to reach the huge potential of the American tourism market,” said Mr Balala.

He said that the Kenya Tourism Board is working with the Delta team to fast track the development and rolling out of a promotional package to bring in more American tourists to Kenya, which is to be presented to him within the next one week.

“Part of the promotional package is the possibility of supporting travel writers, travel agents as well as travel by celebrities, who could help in profiling Kenya as a premier tourist destination,” he said.

Earlier in the week, the Minister discussed with the president of Legacy Entertainment in Hollywood, Steven Moore, plans to organise trips for US celebrities to come to Kenya for photo shoots.

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Mr Balala is in the States to participate in a number of marketing efforts to sell Kenya as a premier tourist destination, in events to mark the inauguration of Barack Obama as the 44th President of America.

The US is now the second largest source market for tourist arrivals into Kenya registering 100,516 arrivals in 2007, after the UK which recorded 203,494 visitors.

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