, NAIROBI, Kenya, July 2 – In a bid to woo back tourists from traditional markets following insecurity challenges in the country, Tourism Cabinet Secretary Phyllis Kandie is leading a Kenyan delegation in the United States of America to meet key stakeholders in the tourism sector.
Kandie who is accompanied by Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) Managing Director Muriithi Ndegwa has reassured the stakeholders that Kenya remains a safe tourist destination despite the challenges.
“Kenya has received a strong endorsement as a tourism destination despite the various challenges experienced in some parts of the country in the recent past. The UN Secretary General has just given Kenya a clean bill of health as a safe tourist destination,” she said.
The delegation which also includes staff from the ministry and KTB as well as the private sector held various sessions and activities in New York including one-on-one discussions on key issues of concern to the US stakeholders.
The concerns include the need for direct flights between Kenya and the US, information on the security measures by the government and product competitiveness.
Kandie assured the market that the government, through the Ministry of Interior, was addressing security concerns in the country in order to ensure that all tourists and Kenyans alike are safe.
She shared with the US trade market some of the efforts the government has undertaken including enhancing the Tourism Police Unit, better equipping the security bodies as well as recruiting more security officers.
During her visit, the CS met and held discussions with the President and CEO of the United States Tour Operators Association (USTOA), Terry Dale.
The meeting centred on reassuring the tour operators on the security concerns in Kenya and product quality. Also discussed were possible incentives as well as USTOA members prioritising marketing Kenya.
Dale said his organisation is willing to partner with Kenya especially at this time, adding US travellers enjoy the safari, adventure, culture as well as multi-generational products the country has to offer.
USTOA represents the top tour operators in the US including 51 corporate members, 157 tour operators and 614 associate members.
The US market is the second largest source market for Kenya with a 13 percent market share. In 2013, Kenya received 115,636 visitors from the US.