Kenya is counting on Africa as a key regional market of focus to grow her tourism business. This has emerged during the 8th edition of the Magical Kenya Travel Expo (MKTE) that is currently being held at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre in Nairobi,Kenya.
Speaking on the sidelines of the expo, Kenya Tourism Board Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Betty Radier has said the Expo has over the last eight years of its existence enabled Kenya to bring together players in Africa’s tourism sector into Kenya to get a better understanding of the diverse and authentic tourism products that Kenya has to offer.
“MKTE has drawn the participation of travel trade partners from across the continent. This has helped Kenya to be part of efforts to grow a unified brand for Africa as a destination. We are encouraged that the expo has over the last eight years grown into the ideal platform for Business-to-Business meetings between leading African products and top-producing global buyers. This serves to ensure continued business growth and development for the tourism industry in Kenya.”, said the KTB CEO.
Africa is gradually emerging not only as a tourism destination but also as a tourist source market. According to the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), the number of Africa outbound market will reach 62 million by 2030.
Africa is currently Kenya’s second biggest source market by region, having contributed 29% of total tourist arrivals to Kenya in 2017.
Uganda is Kenya’s top tourism source market in Africa, as it commanded 6.4 % of arrivals in 2017. There were 61,542 arrivals from Uganda in 2017 up from 51,023 in 2016, denoting a 20.6% growth in arrivals.
Other crucial markets for Kenya on the African continent are South Africa, Tanzania, Ethiopia, and Nigeria.
Commenting on Kenya’s engagement with Nigeria, the KTB CEO said Kenya is partnering with the rest of East Africa to provide a wider offering for travelers from “We are actively engaging with travel agents and tour operators in Nigeria to expose them to the diverse tourist offering in Kenya and the rest of East Africa that would be of interest to travelers from Nigeria and the rest of West Africa.”
Travelers from Nigeria prefer to engage in sampling food, entertainment, nightlife, cultural festivals and events as well as shopping.
Kenya is an attractive destination for Nigerian travelers considering that Kenya provides visas on arrival. National carrier, Kenya Airways has daily flights from Lagos.
KTB CEO further indicated that bilateral discussions are ongoing between the Tourism ministries of Kenya and Sierra Leone to enhance collaboration and travel from Sierra Leone to Kenya.
This year’s MKTE has recorded 185 exhibitors up from 140 that participated last year.
The number of hosted buyers at this year’s expo has risen to 150 up from MKTE 132 recorded last year.