All too soon, the curtains have been drawn on three days of the 3rd East African Regional Tourism Expo and the 17th Magical Kenya Travel Expo (EARTE 2023), marking the triumphant end of an event that brought together the best of East Africa’s tourism industry.
For the patrons, the showcase served as an immersive marketplace, providing a firsthand exploration of the finest offerings from East Africa and Kenya’s vibrant tourism sector.
The panel discussions held during the expo served as a valuable platform for industry players to share insights, fostering an environment conducive to learning and knowledge exchange. Exhibitors, in particular, found the expo to be a lucrative investment, with numerous visitors exploring their stands, demonstrating an eagerness and curiosity about the diverse array of products and services on display.
The variety and quality of products showcased made the event unforgettable for buyers, a sentiment echoed by Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Tourism and Wildlife, Dr. Alfred Mutua, during the colourful closing ceremony. Having personally toured the exhibition stands, Dr. Mutua expressed his satisfaction with the level of engagement between exhibitors, buyers and trade visitors.
Emphasising key points made during the opening ceremony on November 20, he reiterated the importance of fundamental strategies for the growth of Kenya and East Africa’s tourism industry.
These strategies include comprehensive tourism marketing campaigns, the identification and mapping of tourism sites within the region, enhancing the visitor experience from entry points, and improving the overall quality of tourism products and services to encourage repeat tourism. Dr. Mutua’s vision is clear: “Let people come to our continent and return to their countries and say, wow! I want to go back.”
Another significant point highlighted by Dr. Mutua was the imperative to drive sustainable tourism initiatives and actively promote the presence of East Africa and the continent on the global stage. He called on African countries to invest in developing their tourism infrastructure and to view Africa as a viable and profitable tourism market.
East Africa, with its 489 million population, he insisted, could realise substantial benefits from tourism by working together as a circuit, encouraging travel among all seven-member countries.
Francis Gichaba, Chairman of the Kenya Tourism Board, expressed his optimism about the expo’s impact on business, citing the generation of promising leads and deals. According to Gichaba, the event sent a strong message to buyers: “East Africa is ready for business,” and he anticipates reaping the benefits of this exposure in the coming months.
Statistical data provided by the Kenya Tourism Board revealed the event’s resounding success, surpassing initial targets. The total number of main exhibitors increased from 200 to 241, with hosted buyers and media exceeding the initial targets of 100 and 20, reaching 110 and 88, respectively.
The expo’s achievements undoubtedly set its place as a significant platform for propelling East Africa’s tourism industry onto the global stage.
Images from the final day can be found here.