Speaking during the 2nd Kenya Tourism Awards Gala ceremony, Tourism Minister Dan Mwazo noted that the awards come at a time when the tourism sector has recorded remarkable growth for the last two years
“Today’s awards thus serves as recognition of the role the industry plays and contributes to the country’s economy through the sector GDP’s portfolio of 11 percent,” Minister Mwazo said.
He noted that despite the traditional source markets that take a bigger share in contributing to the total tourist arrivals to the country, Africa and emerging markets have shown remarkable growth in the recent past, an indication that the region has growth potential.
First quarter of the year results (Jan-March 2012) for example show that South Africa recorded 9,703 visitors, a 27.6 percent growth compared to the same period in 2011.
Uganda has maintained its lead in the arrivals from the African region, recording 42,674 inbound visitors, 25.9 percent growth compared to the same period in 2010. Tanzania recorded 34,322 arrivals, a 13.4 percent growth from 2010.
From the Asian markets, China recorded 37,432 visitors, a 31.4 percent growth compared to the same period in 2010, and from the Middle East; UAE grew by 42 percent to 21,128 arrivals, compared to 2010. Australia grew by 23.9 percent, to 24,226 arrivals, up from 19,560 in 2010.
Among the guests who graced the awards, were the Moroccan Tourism Delegation led by the Tourism Federation president.
According to Mwazo the presence of Moroccan Tourism Federation led by its President Ali Ghannan was indicative of the profile KETA is poised to get in the near future coming at a time when Kenya is focusing on the regional and Africa market.
A Kenyan delegation including the tourism players from the private sector recently visited Morocco to benchmark on success stories on the development and marketing of tourism products.
The Morocco delegation now in Kenya will further enrich Kenya’s networking and insights into intra-Africa tourism route.
Kenya Tourism Federation Chairperson Lucy Karume said the tourism sector was very excited to be hosting the second awards ceremony where it recognised and awarded excellence in the sector.
“We have seen growth in the sector especially in domestic and regional tourist arrivals and this should be encouraged especially bearing in mind the Euro zone is still facing financial difficulties, adding that Kenya has barely scratched the surface of its tourism potential as a destination.
Karume underscored the value of the partnership between the sector and the media as media possess enormous power to drive growth of the sector and consequently the economy of the country.
KTB Board Member Patricia Ithau indicated that KETA would be a major event in the calendar of tourism activities in Kenya as the sector seeks to accommodate our regional players from the East Africa.
“I urge the industry to work hard and continually focus on improving service delivery to meet the global standards. By being more innovative, customer-oriented, we will steer this sector to greater heights of prosperity,” she said.
KETA is an initiative of Tourism private sector umbrella body – Kenya Tourism Federation – and the government marketing arm the Kenya Tourist Board.
The focus of the awards is to encourage excellence in the industry by recognising and revitalising healthy competition among the players and hence raising the standards of services rendered to the clientele.