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Kenya readies for online tourism fair

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 21 – The Kenyan tourism industry has been urged to take advantage of the faster online speeds, increasing dominance of e-commerce and the rise of social media networking to further accelerate growth.

E Tourism Frontiers Chief Executive Officer Damian Cook says as a result of the fast growth in ICT and particularly internet speeds in Kenya, the tourism business has been revolutionised.   

He noted that with the increasing interest in Africa generated from the 2010 FIFA World Cup it is critical that tourism companies in East Africa take advantage of online marketing opportunities.

 “Online sales have experienced major growth in the past year. Travel is now the number one selling commodity online and is generating over US $110 billion annually in sales.

 “We must get more African tourism products available to the online travel shopper, especially following the massive interest in Africa after the World Cup,” said Mr Cook.

E Tourism Frontiers will be holding a two-day conference with a Travel Technology Exhibition in Nairobi on September 2 and 3 this year.

Mr Cook said the E Tourism East Africa Conference will help the sector understand and leverage the online opportunities and the new technologies available in the region.

He noted that following the success of conferences held last year in South Africa and East Africa, the E Tourism East Africa Conference, which is being sponsored by Safaricom, KCB and Crowne Plaza Hotel Nairobi, will include presentations from some of the world’s leading experts in online tourism, including Trip Advisor, Expedia, and Google.

Sessions will include website development, e-commerce, online reservations and booking, e-marketing, multimedia, Web 2.0 marketing, user generated content, social networks and mobile marketing.

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The E Tourism Frontiers CEO said most companies that had attended previous conferences have reported major results and a revolutionized approach to marketing.

“We have seen many companies switch to online marketing and invest heavily in their digital presence after attending our events. We have received great feedback especially from SMEs who have made the move online and then recorded a dramatic boost to their business. Uganda Wildlife Authority placed their Mountain Gorillas on Facebook last year, through the Friend a Gorilla programme. We also saw Expedia expand into East Africa as a result of our first conference in Nairobi in 2008,” Mr said Cook.

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