This is despite having numerous tourism destinations across the region that would attract more tourists to the country.
East African Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture chairman James Mureu has challenged the hotels and entertainment stakeholders to come up with new strategies that will see more tourists and investors visit the region.
“If you go in Rwanda, the Gorillas are a big attraction; if you come here in Kenya you can see the big five easily; you have the finest lodges in Tanzania, and Uganda too has a lot to offer,” he noted.
He says there is need for the sector to push the government to have more partnerships in marketing activities that will first focus on the exploiting the regional market.
“It is important that all the players come together because imagine we have a market of a whole 150 million people within the East African region,” Mureu said.
Favourable weather across the region all year round makes the region also a preferred hub for conference tourism something that should also be used in the marketing strategy.
However the governments in region have been challenged to improve the infrastructure to ease movement and ensure guests’ experience and stay in the region is the best.
The current technological development in the telecommunication sector, including the undersea fibre optic cable, extensive networking in the region and mobile phone communication innovations, he said, is a big step on the right way.
He was speaking while launching the Kenya Hospitality Trade Fair expected to take place in July this year in Nairobi.
The fair is targeting 5,000 visitors from 10 countries in the East and Central Africa, the Middle East and Europe.
Different sectors will include hospitality supplies and equipment, furnishing, interior décor and design, Food and beverage among others.
“It is time for Kenya to see itself as the gate way for tourism and hospitality for Africa. In the past it has always been South Africa. But I feel what Kenya needs to do is send out more positive message to the world. Let the visitors know they have enough place to stay, there is good infrastructure, there is safety and so on. Otherwise I wouldn’t see any big difference between Kenya and South Africa,” one of the expected exhibitors from South Africa Lerato Monageng said.