Tourism Cabinet Secretary Phyllis Kandie said the push is however meant to add Kenya’s tourist arrivals and not substitute visits from the traditional source markets of the West.
She made the announcement following recent travel advisories by the United States, United Kingdom, Australia and France, with hundreds of British tourists already being evacuated from Kenya’s coast last week.
“We have a plan at the ministry, one of which is to diversify our source market but that does not mean that we ignore our traditional market. I do not think that will lead to a strained relationship with the Western world because we will still maintain our traditional source markets although we have gotten negative travel advisories from some,” she said.
Kandie called on the countries to review their travel advisories, saying it was negatively impacting Kenya.
“Yes! It will have a significant impact on our sector, luckily for us this was a low season and it should not affect bookings for the high season,” she added.
The CS said with Chinese support in the tourism sector, trade promotions and investments will be highly improved to attract more investors and open markets from the East.
“The Chinese government is very much interested in supporting Kenya’s tourism sector, so as we will build on that MoU, we will focus on tourism promotion and development and trade promotion as well so that together they can increase trade between the two countries,” she said.
She added that a joint implementation committee with China would be set up to act on the memorandum of understanding between the National Tourism Administration of China and Kenya Tourism Board which was signed in 2004.
Vice- Chairman of the National Tourism Administration of China, Wang Zhifa said the partnership will enhance corporation with enterprises and improve other joint facilities such as hospitality and aviation industries to help boost tourism numbers by linking parties from both markets.
“We will work closely with the ministry of tourism to improve the aviation connection. China is in full support of the Chinese tourist to visit Kenya and also supportive of the Chinese enterprises investing in Kenya,” he said.
Speaking during a media briefing, Wang said the meeting was a follow up from the visit by China’s Premier Li Keqiang to the country a week ago.
Kandie is set to travel to China next week to generate ways to attract more tourists to the country with the China government.