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Thursday, April 25, 2024

Kenya: New Year Will Be Better for Tourism, Predicts CS

After the devastation caused by the Covid-19, the country has laid out plans to revive its tourism in the new year.

The measures include marketing, use of technology and how the country handles the pandemic.

“Everybody is online and players must market digitally. Technology is our number one priority,” Tourism and Wildlife Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala said on his Facebook page.

“Products are changing because there will be a new kind of client in 2021. We encourage diversifying and value-addition.”

He added that though tourism has had a difficult year, there is a chance for growth and recovery.

Kenya recorded a massive drop in arrivals this year. Some 470,971 tourists visited Kenya from January to October, compared to 1.7 million in the same period the previous year.

“We’re optimistic though we know it will take time before the vaccines reach all,” Mr Balala said.

Keeping everybody safe

The CS urged industry players to embrace change.

“We’ve learnt that there is a domestic market. During the wildebeest migration in August, Kenyans came out to support our tourism,” he said.

Mr Balala urged Kenyans to observe health protocols whenever they are travelling.

He urged aviation stakeholders to remodel and redesign their business.

However, Kenya Coast Working Group chairman Husnain Noorani said the future of tourism is pegged on the government adopting the open skies policy.

He added that there is a huge regional market, but lack of direct connectivity is a hurdle.

“If Kenya Airways and Jambo Jet can start flights to the Coast, it would boost meetings, weddings, conferences and holidays. I urge President Uhuru Kenyatta, Mr Balala, stakeholders and policy makers to meet and brainstorm on the matter,” Mr Noorani told the Nation by phone yesterday.

He said 2021 must be different by positioning Kenya as the leading meeting, incentives, convention and exhibitions destination.

Easing restrictions

Mr Noorani called for the easing of the health protocols.

“There has been debate on Covid-19 testing policies. We don’t want to allow everybody in, but there could be other ways of doing things.

“Policy makers and tourism players should find ways of encouraging easier access to the country while keeping everybody safe,” he said.

Kenya Association of Hotelkeepers and Caterers Coast executive Sam Ikwaye echoed Mr Noorani’s sentiments on a brighter 2021.

“The government needs to ease restrictions and allow people to travel. Restrictions affect all,” Dr Ikwaye said.

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