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Kenya wins at Japan tour expo

TOKYO, Sep 25 – Kenya has won a trophy in the on-going Japan Association of Travel Agents (JATA) expo for displaying the best narrative brochure depicting the best tourism information available in Japanese language in 2010.

Tourism Minister Najib Balala attended the expo.

He took the opportunity to congratulate Kenya Tourism Board and the Market Development Representative (MDR) for the magnificent display.  "The award is a great honour to Kenya and a sign of good things to come," he said.

Kenya recently opened a marketing office in Tokyo to market Kenya to the annual 15million Japanese tourists.

The JATA expo is the largest travel expo in Asia and has attracted 139 countries who compete for Japanese tourists. The overall winner was the Republic of Croatia.  

Mr Balala who is on an aggressive marketing campaign in Asia, is scheduled to leave Tokyo on Sunday for Guangzhou, China where he has been invited as a Chief Guest to the 2010 United Nations World Tourism day to be held on September 27.

Earlier, he held discussions with Toshiaki Koizumi, the Senior Vice Minister for Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism on the promotion of tourism in Kenya and Japan.

The Minister called for closer collaboration and cooperation between the two countries noting that out of the 15million Japanese visiting other countries, Kenya only receives a very negligible figure of about 10,000 tourists.

Mr Koizumi praised the move by Kenya to open a marketing office in Tokyo saying it was time Kenya tapped into Japanese market. He said Kenya has magnificent natural heritage and beautiful wildlife attractions that needs to be marketed to Japanese tourists.

They discussed the need to improve accessibility and reduction of connectivity time in air transport between Japan and Nairobi through chartered planes and code sharing between Kenya Airways and Japanese airlines.  It was observed that this was possible as the market continues to grow.

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The Japanese Senior Vice minister said Japan would continue to collaborate with Kenya in the marketing and development of the sector through the development of infrastructure and other related projects.

Mr Balala also met Hiroshi Mizohata, the Commissioner of Japan Tourism Agency (JTA).

In their discussions, the commissioner said Kenya is famous for sports and Japanese have passion for some of the sportsmen and women some of whom studied in Japan. He said Kenya could use the opportunity of the expo to learn more about the market.

The minister also held discussions with Atsou Kuroda, Vice President of Japan international Cooperation Agency (JICA) on the possibility of funding tourism related infrastructure projects under the vision 2030 which are key to the growth of tourism.

Mr Balala praised the Japanese Government for the support extended towards solving the congestion in the Port of Mombasa and the by-pass saying it will go a long way to improve the movement of people and goods in the region.

The minister also held press interviews with four Japanese leading media houses and travel journals at the Kenya stand at the JATA expo to woo Japanese tourists to Kenya.

The minister is accompanied by Permanent Secretary, Leah Gwiyo, Muriithi Ndegwa, MD Kenya Tourist Board, Allan Chenane, CEO CTLDT, Dr Kenneth Ombongi, Principal Kenya Utalii College and Amb. Ben Ogutu, Kenyan Ambassador to Japan.

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