, NAIROBI, Kenya, May 25 – The local tourism industry has been encouraged learn how to market Kenyan destinations via social media sites.
Assistant Minister for Tourism, Cecily Mbarire said it was logical that the IT sector and Tourism sectors combined their roles of promoting Kenya as a leading tourism destination and as a technological hub to ride the unstoppable wave of online tourism sales and distribution.
She added that the sector had recorded an increase of 15 percent in tourism arrivals this year.
“We see that strategic investment in Information Technology and online marketing is a key ingredient to the growth and sustainability of tourism. It is this kind of cooperative development between multi-national firms and local innovators that will be essential for us to succeed in selling Kenya in a global marketplace,” Ms Mbarire said.
Speaking during the launch of a new online Tourism textbook, CEO and Founder of E- Tourism Frontiers, Damian Cook said with continuing growth in online sales despite the global recession and more than 60 percent of travel for both business and leisure now being booked via the internet and raising over 150 billion dollars, the intent cannot now be considered a small part of the tourism industry.
He added that it was vital that all tourism players continue to increase both their understanding and investment into the online sector.
“Our (Tourism) industry needs to focus not just on their own marketing but to encourage their clientele to market for them via social media. 50 percent of travelers now read a review before booking a hotel or trip for a long haul destination and this is especially relevant for travel to Africa. Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are vital tools when researching travel.
“However only a small number of East African Tourism companies are really accessing and using these tools to their full potential. The textbook “E Tourism Frontier’s Guide to Online Tourism” and our Road Shows are designed to show them how to do this,” he said.
Wilfred Michoma, Head of Card Business at Kenya Commercial Bank said the Internet Acquiring system for KCB provides the tourism sector with an easy and affordable access to reservations and management of online payments.
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