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SA tourism mulls Nairobi office

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 11 – With most of its visitors from the continent, South Africa’s tourism marketing agency is considering opening up an office in Nairobi to effectively reach out to the East African market.

South African Tourism (SAT) Regional Director for Africa Phumi Dhlomo explained that such an office would enable them to use Kenya as a focal point to reach out to the rest of the region, which has a huge tourism potential.

“The feasibility studies are still going on but our intention is to make sure that we have this (office opened) by 2015 because it is not just SAT’s requirement but an objective that was set by the National Department of Tourism in terms of the new tourism sector strategy,” disclosed the manager.

Kenya is one of SA’s core tourism markets in Africa together with Nigeria, Angola, Botswana, Mozambique and Democratic Republic of Congo.

Between 2003 and 2010, the arrivals from Africa registered an annual growth of 10.3 percent with the total arrivals growing from 68.1 percent to 77 percent in 2010.

The country has for a long time been a key market for South African tourism with an average of 32,000 travellers every year.

The high potential can also be seen in the average growth of eight to 10 percent in Kenyan visitor numbers in the first three months of this year.

“This is a significant growth for us and it is as a result of the relationships that we have formed,” Mr Dhlomo emphasised.

And to further consolidate these relationships, South African Tourism announced that it has partnered with the Kenya Association of Travel Agents (KATA) in its effort to reach out to the wider network of such groups across the country.

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This strategy, the regional manager believed, would enable them to retain and even attract more tourists to South Africa.

“Working with travel agencies is something that we have always been emphasising because we know that the majority of travellers still go through this channel in order to come to South Africa and therefore it is important that we have a relationship with the various agents,” Mr Dhlomo explained.

Stressing that the partnership was coming at an opportune time for both the agents and their clients, KATA Chairperson Ann Wanyoike said SAT would be able to greatly benefit from their knowledge of their market and thus result in increased travels.

Mrs Wanyoike added that they would take a number of activities such as familiarisation trips and training to enable them develop a mutually beneficial relationship.

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