, NAIROBI, Kenya Oct 19 – The tourism sector is hoping to cash in big in the upcoming peak season, having suffered numerous challenges in the past.
With security enhancement and infrastructural improvement in the coastal region, industry players say they are optimistic of better days ahead.
The sector has suffered various challenges, ranging from terror attacks and travel advisories that threatened to displace Kenya’s place as the preferred tourism destination in Africa.
“With Safari, Beach and experimental travel that is second to none, Kenya has successfully been able to reassert its position as the number one tourist destination on the continent,” said Bobby Kamani, Managing Director of Diani Reef Beach, Resort and Spa, that was voted as Africa’s leading beach resort 2018 during the World Travel Awards Ceremony held in South Africa.
“We remain optimistic about tourism numbers for the next few years if Kenya can continue to maintain its foothold as the leading destination on the continent,” Bobby said, describing the award to Diani Reef as a recognition of the “excellent experience the hotel is offering to both domestic and international tourists.”
“We are grateful that our efforts in upgrading our product as well as enhancing our service levels have been recognized by clients who have voted for us,” he said.
He cited terrorist attacks and travel advisories as the “most definitive factors that hit tourism in Kenya in 2013-2014.”
Regional players such as Tanzania and Rwanda, he said, utilized this period effectively by upgrading their marketing efforts to international markets and by upgrading their tourism efforts in terms of product offerings and value propositions.
“Such initiatives restored faith in the region during uncertain times but at the same time saw a paradigm shift in tourism from one country to others in East African region,” he said.
Safari in the Serengeti, beach holidays in Zanzibar and Gorilla Trekking in Rwanda were aggressively promoted by international tour operators, travel agents and destination management companies as well as national tourism boards at a time when Kenya was trying to hold on to the tourism numbers it could hold on to.
The two elections held last year helped to cement Kenya’s stability because the country was largely peaceful.
“The world saw that Kenya was more than capable of holding free and fair elections in a most democratic manner. Kenya also became more proactive in protecting its ‘piece of the pi’” by continuously and aggressively marketing its tourism product not only to international visitors but to domestic clientele alike,” Bobby said.
The period of 2013 / 2014 taught Kenya to rely on its domestic and East African markets to sustain tourism numbers.