The tourism sector in Kenya now has reason to smile. Pre election jitters scared off regional and international tourists but after the elections the sector is picking up. The peaceful elections held on 4th of March 2013 and the subsequent peaceful government transition have seen tourists confirm bookings and come to Kenya for holiday and business activities.
At a meeting with African travel agents in South Africa, Tourism PS Ruth Solitei said that the peaceful election has certified that Kenya is a safe destination for business, especially tourism.
“Kenya as a tourist destination can only do better thanks to the country’s repositioning with freshness and zeal soon after the peaceful General Election in March under a new constitutional dispensation,” she said. (quote taken from the Daily Nation)
According to the Daily Nation, KTB managing director Muriithi Ndegwa said they are focusing on Africa, regional and the UAE markets, which have been resilient against the backdrop of the euro zone crisis.
In the meantime Kenya is working on getting more of the pie of the Sh 2.6 trillion global conference tourism market. The tourism sector is key to Kenya’s fortunes as it is the 2nd 2nd largest source of foreign exchange revenue . The Ministry of Tourism has plans to establish Meetings, Incentives, Conferencing and Events (Mice) Centres all around the country. South Africa is the most preferred Mice and business tourism destination followed by Kenya (International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) statistics).
The MICE sector is expected to be the next high growth segment. This interest has made several international hotel brands like Kempinski and Hemingways to invest in building hotels in Kenya. Other international hotel chains are also expected to invest in the hospitality sector with some of them already in the process of putting up hotels. Kenya is working to position itself as the finance and business hub in the region.
Kenya is also attracting high profile investors like Richard Branson who are putting up camps and lodges. Richard Branson’s Mahali Mzuri Safari Camp opened this august. It is a first of its kind. The tents resemble the shape of a spaceship.
Kenya has so much potential in the tourism sector. It will be interesting to see the new developments happening in the next year or so.