Magical Kenya is the slogan used by the Kenyan Tourism Board to promote Kenya. It is also the name of the website created by the Kenya Tourism board to showcase the wealth of tourist attraction sites and culture present in Kenya. The vision of the Kenya Tourism Board is to achieve global recognition for Kenya as an outstanding tourism destination.
We ourselves, people of Kenya, also have an obligation to visit all these tourist attraction sites, hotels and learn about the culture of the other tribes we do not belong to. It would be such a shame for a person living in Kenya to not having seen the big 5 before they die.
1. Create media campaigns to encourage people to visit
There is a campaign already running called #WhyILoveKenya. Locals and tourists alike are sharing photos of places they have been and there are very breathtaking photos to be found in the collection. They can also get a new site or just add a new section to their site and ask people to upload all these photos. They can have them show as a slide show or categorize them according to location or culture.
2. Encourage local tourism
Kenyans are very vocal when it comes to them defending the country’s beauty but they forget to go and see this beauty up close. Seeing the Rift Valley on photos is not the same as seeing it in person. You can learn many things like there is a Mt. Margaret, did you know that? We bet you didn’t. This can be seen in the Great Rift View point.
3. Engage with travel bloggers
Travel bloggers encourage people to travel by spotlighting places people should visit, many of which are little known. Kenya Tourism Board needs to work with travel bloggers both local and international and take them to locations they can visit and write about. This will be good because the various bloggers will be able to tell their audience in the various countries about the lovely scenery and animals they have seen in Kenya, the cuisine and the hospitality. This is one resource KTB has not fully utilized in marketing the country. The online space is the new frontier where everybody is headed to.
Musicians in Africa came together and sang a song on unity, why don’t we do the same with Kenyan musicians for Kenyan Travel. They can have the videos shot in various locations and sing about the beauty of Kenya. They can then share on their different social media sites because they have lots of followers who are located in different cities in the world.
5. Partner with tour/ travel companies and hotels
They can work with the tour and travel companies to offer enticing holiday packages and other discounts that will encourage more travel. Many people think that travelling needs someone with really deep pockets but this is not the case. People like these can be enticed with promotional packages.
6. Collaborate with the national airline Kenya Airways
This can as well work with the bringing in of influencers and bloggers aboard our Kenya Airways airplanes. This will make them have a Kenyan experience even before touch down. The hospitality and politeness of Kenyans will be seen and this will give them a better perception of Kenya.
They can also work on reducing air travel costs to Kenya and within Kenya on certain holidays and occasions to increase the chance of tourists visiting.
Also the domestic airlines can borrow from that concept so that of one wants to go to Mombasa they can go by plane then stay at home complaining how long the journey always is. We need better bundled deals for hotels and flights.
7. Have showcases in the different travel and tourism events
For the different travel and tourism events happening worldwide, we should be more aggressive about selling Kenya and what we have to offer. KTB also need to do more research into what tourists are looking for so that they can go sell those niche packages when Kenya goes for those exhibitions.
We need to sell ourselves better for example we are the only country to have a National Park within the city. We are also among the few countries to have the big 5 animals. Also we are home to the last remaining Northern white male rhino and also have 3 out of the 5 that currently exist. We need to entice the potential tourist by telling them what we have that other countries don’t have. This will increase the chances of people coming in.
8. Get in partnership with different film production companies
Although we are already doing it, we should sell ourselves more aggressively as a place where filmmakers can come and shoot their movies and TV shows. It will help by exposing us to a bigger audience. People are more inclined to find the real location of the where their favourite TV shows were shot. But of course the Government of Kenya needs to make it more attractive incentive wise for film makers to come shoot their movies here. For example Ireland and Morocco have really marketed themselves by use of Game of Thrones as tourist locations as fans want to have photos of them taken in the same place Daenerys Targaryen or Ned Stark stood. The Hobbit and The Lord Of The Rings pushed tourism numbers in New Zealand to new highs.
9. Destination competitions
There are many countries that have competitions to encourage tourists to visit their countries. Most competitions involve filling in raffles, writing or filming reasons why one would like to travel to the particular country. The winners get an all expenses paid trip to the country that is promoting itself. I think we need to do more of that and create hype around visiting Kenya. Here is a post on how to win travel competitions. It goes to show you that there are many people out there interested in travelling and telling the stories of the places they have visited.
Kenya Tourism Board needs to work closely with counties to develop and market their tourism facilities. Most people know Kenya for the beaches at the Coast, the capital city Nairobi and the Maasai Mara. Kenya Tourism Board needs to encourage more county tourism and market this to both local and international tourism. County governments should create favourable packages to encourage tourists to go and see what they have to offer.
11. Research is everything
Countries that are serious about tourism carry out extensive research and consumer audits on what both local and international tourists are looking for when they are looking to travel. Kenya needs to get serious about using research to inform marketing strategy and how they package Kenya as a destination. There are many case studies out there including this one Destination Promotion: An Engine of Economic Development by Oxford Economics. We need to invest more in research because research informs everything including strategy formulation, strategy development including SWOT Analysis (internal strengths and weaknesses, external opportunities and threats), Strategy implementation and Strategy evaluation.
These are some of the suggestions we have. What kind of recommendations do you have?