, NAIROBI, Kenya, May 7 – Kenya is among about 15,000 exhibitors showcasing tourism products at fairs to be held in Durban, South Africa and the Middle East next week.
Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) is leading 27 companies from the local travel and hotel industry for the four-day Arabian Travel Market (ATM) in Dubai and South Africa’s Indaba exhibition both taking place this week to May 14.
The tourism fairs come at a time when the country is enjoying international attention and endorsement as a peaceful nation following a successful and calm General Election held in March this year.
KTB Managing Director Muriithi Ndegwa says the exhibitions will provide a platform for the country to drive the message of a new business environment after a peaceful election.
“The emphasis by the new government on tourism as a key growth driver to support Kenya’s economy is highly applauded,” said Ndegwa.
He said the tourism industry was dynamic and international fairs provided an opportunity to benchmark with best practices globally as KTB seeks to diversify tourism products to target varied preferences by visitors.
While wildlife, safari and beach remain key products of Kenya’s tourism, it is clear that other areas have emerged as competitive among them being water sports, birding, adventure, golfing, MICE, culture among others.
“The focus on eco-tourism and Meeting Incentives Conferencing and Exhibitions (MICE) has also been key,” said Ndegwa while confirming that Kenya would be host of the International Conference on Eco Tourism in September, 2013.
Effects of economic recession on tourism, stimulating jobs and investment in the industry, elimination of barriers to travel such as visa restrictions and taxation are among key challenges to be discussed during the fairs.
Both UAE and South Africa markets have shown remarkable growth in tourist numbers to Kenya with KTB redoubling its marketing efforts in tapping into these markets.
In the year 2011 for example, Kenya recorded 38,354 tourists from South Africa and 40,707 in 2012 translating to a six percent growth.
The UAE market has shown remarkable growth and resilience in the past three years and has become one of the fastest growing source markets for Kenya.
Last year the market grew from 21,128 arrivals in the year 2011 to 40,485 translating to a growth of 92 percent jump.
The growth from the UAE has been boosted by established routes from key airlines such as Kenya Airways, Emirates, Etihad among others has continually partnered with these airlines to promote Kenya as a destination of choice to tourists.