Tourism players have re-affirmed country’s resilience to security challenges and reported good business ahead for the sector at the Outbound Travel Mart (OTM) tourism fair that ended in India over the weekend.
Kenya’s exhibition stand was voted the best decorated stand in the three-day event held in Bombay exhibition centre and attended by over 1,500 exhibitors.
The Kenyan stand was decorated with diverse tourism attraction images with beach, culture and wildlife standing out as iconic products the country is known for.
Kenya’s tourism marketer, Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) at the same time projected a 15% growth in the market that recorded 125,032 arrivals last year.
Over ten travel companies representing Kenya hinted on good prospects ahead in the season with positive inquiries and booking for travel.
“Indeed this year’s OTM has been the best, we have been able to close deals and prospects from this market is encouraging. We have been able to confirm bookings as early as March,” says Shian Tours and Travel Sales and Business Development Manager Mukami Kavindah.
African Trotters Expedition Managing Director Martin Mungai said Kenya is in the priority list of travel sales agents and confirmed over 400 delegates scheduled to visit Kenya in August for conferencing and leisure tourism.
Bookings for conferencing comes as Kenyan is set to host a Meeting Incentives Conferencing and Events (MICE) roadshow in Mumbai, New Delhi and Bangalore cities from 28th to 1 Feb 2019 as it seeks to create links between the India MICE agents and their counterparts in Kenya.
The roadshow will present an opportunity for Kenya to engage one-on-one with about 100 MICE agents on country’s authentic MICE experiences.
“I can confirm to you that besides the MICE segment, we have bookings already placed as well as enquiries mostly from senior citizens coming to witness the annual wildebeest migration in the famous Masai Mara Game Reserve,” says Martin.
African Quest Safaris Managing Director Tasneem Adamji said that though there was a lot of demand for wildebeest migration season, the trade is convincing travellers to also travel during low season and to sample other country’s diversified products and experience besides Maasai. “Travellers are upbeat and would want to explore new destinations in Africa and Kenya is topping the list,” she added.
Serena Hotels disclosed that the facility is offering special rates to the Indian travellers during their holiday period. “We were really overwhelmed with enquiries being the only hotel showcasing at the stand. We have scheduled bookings for Indian holiday season in the months of April, May and June. This is also an opportunity to project Kenya as all-round season” says Serena Hotels Retail Sales Manager Timothy Kitenge.
KTB Director of Marketing Jacinta Nzioka said the bustling witnessed at the Kenyan stand in OTM exhibition was an endorsement as well as indication of sheer confidence on the Kenyan nation that recently witnessed terror attacks.
“The big number of people visiting Kenyan stand at OTM and deals entered between sellers and our travel trade has been a source of encouragement and indication of Kenya’s resilience with regards the threats of insecurity,” said Nzioka.
KTB, she pointed out, has lined up series of marketing and promotional activities across its key source markets in a bid to further increase international tourist numbers which last year hit a two million mark, the highest ever in the recent past.