Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) is seeking to grow tourism arrivals into the country to 5.5 million in the next five years as it reaches out to private sector players for collaborative efforts to market the country.
KTB Chairperson Francis Gichaba disclosed that the sector is back on full recovery pointing out that the arrivals by end of the current financial year will close at slightly over 1.9 million visitors that was recorded in 2019.
“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,” said Gichaba.
He was speaking at Bomas of Kenya during a tourism stakeholders meeting that brought together hoteliers, tour operators, travel agents, tourism associations and government agencies. The session sought to validate KTB’s five-year strategic plan for 2023-2028.
In the strategy, KTB is targeting to achieve 5.5 million international tourist arrivals and grow the tourism sector contribution to Kenya’s economy to Ksh 1 Trillion Annually by June 2028.
Gichaba said destination marketing was a collaborative exercise noting that the involvement of the private sector in the strategy development was one of the ways of incorporating invaluable ideas that would shape the sector’s performance within the review period.
Kenya Hotel Keepers Association and Caterers (KAHC) Chief Executive Officer Mike Macharia on his part 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 pointed out.
While lauding KTB for consolidating the industry’s input in its strategy, the KAHC chief 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) among others which he noted as one ways 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.
In the strategy, the sector is looking to grow Kenya’s market share in Africa to 6 % from the current 2.26% and increase employment contribution from 7.9% in 2022 to an annual growth 10%. About the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), the tourism marketing agency is targeting to move from 6.4 % recorded last year to 10% by 2027.
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.