Kenya Tourism Board, the country’s marketing agency, is targeting to achieve 5.5 million international tourist arrivals in the next five years under its strategic plan launched Wednesday.
KTB chairperson Francis Gichaba said the strategic plan for 2023-2028 also seeks to grow the tourism sector’s contribution to Kenya’s economy to 1 trillion shillings (about 6.63 billion U.S. dollars) annually by June 2028.
“We are very optimistic that with the support from the private sector and other key players in the industry, our performance will even surpass the 2019 arrivals to over 2 million and progressively beyond,” Gichaba told tourism stakeholders in Nairobi, the capital of Kenya.
The meeting that brought together hoteliers, tour operators, travel agents, tourism associations, and government agencies sought to validate KTB’s five-year strategic plan.
Gichaba said the sector is on a full recovery path, pointing out that the arrivals by the end of the current financial year will close at slightly over 1.9 million visitors that was recorded in 2019.
He said KTB will reach out to private sector players for collaborative efforts to market the country.
Gichaba said destination marketing was a collaborative exercise, noting that the involvement of the private sector in strategy development was one of the ways of incorporating invaluable ideas that would shape the sector’s performance within the review period.
Under the strategy, the sector is looking to grow Kenya’s market share in Africa to 6 percent from the current 2.26 percent and increase employment contribution from 7.9 percent in 2022 to an annual growth of 10 percent.
About the gross domestic product (GDP), the tourism marketing agency is targeting to move from 6.4 percent recorded last year to 10 percent by 2027.
Tourism is one of Kenya’s leading sources of foreign exchange earners alongside diaspora remittances, horticulture, and tea exports, according to statistics from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics.
Kenya Association of Hotelkeepers and Caterers (KAHC) chief executive officer Mike Macharia called on the private players to tailor their products and experiences to the needs of the market.
“We talk of Africa as the low-hanging fruit in terms of numbers and market share in the country and therefore the product owners should package their products and experience and sell to Africa. This move would also open opportunities for Africans to invest in the hospitality sector in Kenya,” Macharia said.
He challenged the marketing agency not to downsize on in-market promotional activities including participating in tourism fairs such as World Travel Market (WTM) and International Tourism Bourse (ITB) which he noted as one way of increasing brand visibility.
“We have to go where the market is, and this is what our competitors such as South Africa have beaten us on. They have invested heavily in market presence not only to build brand awareness but to sign marketing deals,” Macharia affirmed.
Under the strategy, the performance of the domestic market is also expected to grow from the current bed nights of 5 million to about 7.4 million in 2028.#