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Kenya woos the Spaniards

MADRID, Spain, Jan 21- Kenya will intensify on-line marketing activities in Spain in a bid to attract more visitors, Tourism Minister Najib Balala has said.

Speaking in Spain during the just completed FITUR exhibition, Mr Balala said the initiative was in line with the increasing number of Spanish travelers who make direct online bookings.

Current statistics show that online booking has recorded an increase of 12.5 percent while the use of package holiday has decreased by 3.9 percent.

“Given the increased importance of the internet, Kenya launched the Magical Kenya Spanish Sub-Site to boost Online Marketing Campaign with more Spanish tourists expected to make frequent visits that would translate to more visitors,” he said while expressing optimistic that such sustained campaigns would translate into increased tourist numbers for Kenya.

Tourist arrivals from Spain to Kenya have been on an upward trend since 2006 but declined in2008 by 59.6 percent in 2008 due to the post election violence. 

While receiving Spain’s King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia who had visited Kenya’s exhibition stand, the minister assured the Spaniards of Kenya’s stability and readiness to offer diversified tourism products.

The minister who was accompanied by Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) Managing Director Muriithi Ndegwa said that among tourism products attracting Spaniards, golf has become a niche product.

 “Golf is a very popular sport in Spain and is going beyond the borders with interesting golf offers for frequent players” said the minister.

However, the market has shown some resilience with a recovery rate of 87.8 percent in 2009 compared to 2007 which was the sector’s benchmark year.

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The growth has been attributed to the various measures that the government and industry players have undertaken to encourage visitors who had stayed away from the country following the effects of the election violence to come back. Discounted packages and visa fees reduction are some of the efforts that have borne fruit for the sector.

These efforts are also expected to be evident next month when KTB releases the statistics detailing the performance of the tourism sector last year.

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