NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 23 – Kenyans have been urged to contribute to the recovery of the tourism sector which has been adversely affected by the harsh economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
Tembea Tujenge Kenya an initiative that seeks to have more Kenyans visit the country’s travel destinations made the appeal on Friday even as it’s proponents exuded confidence that the industry’s fortunes were getting better.
The initiative which is supported by corporates including Shell, Sarova Hotels, and Isuzu East Africa aims to market Kenya to Kenyans and enable locals to explore Kenya affordably in order to promote domestic tourism and attain industry sustainability.
The initiative’s ambassador, Maina Kageni, appealed to Kenyans to promote local tourism by visiting different destinations in the country ostensibly to create employment for the youths in the country.
“As Kenyans we can actually fill our hotels and national parks and our youths do not need to lose jobs. What quarter one showed us is that a lot of hotels were totally booked out up until March, 2021 in some cases. So it is working and we just need to come together and re-build our local tourism industry,” he said.
The team was set for a weekend tour in Naivasha to popularize and showcase the region’s travel destinations.
Kageni stressed that the individual contribution of every Kenyan will be a game changer in revitalizing the industry’s fortunes.
“If we all play our part even the hotels that closed during the start of the pandemic will open their doors,” he said.
Sarova Corporate Sales Manager Bernard Itebete noted that besides local travel reducing dependency on foreign markets for tourism income it will hugely ensure that the sustainability of tourism in the country.
“We believe that if we all carry the on the same spirit of encouraging local travel that is going to change the way we look at our industry. It is up to us to travel because we see, learn and grow,” he said.
Isuzu Communication Manager Dancan Muhindi noted that with the help of its brand ambassador Eliud Kipchoge it will strive to popularize the country’s exotoc destinations and asked Kenyans to play their part in visiting them.
“We want to continuously publicize the very exotic destination that Kenya has. This campaign is a very wonderful opportunity where Kenyans can get to familiarize themselves with the very beautiful places that Kenya offers,” he said.
In the first quarter between October and December, Tembea Tujenge Kenya campaign visited and highlighted the beauty of six counties namely Kajiado, Laikipia, Mombasa, Kwale, Lamu and Nakuru counties.
The tourism industry was one of the hard-hit sectors from the pandemic after Kenya and global countries shut their borders to curb the spread of the coronavirus disease.
Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala while launching the National Tourism Crisis Report in 2020 said that the industry had lost up to Sh80 billion since the outbreak of COVID-19.