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Kenya banks on blueprint to grow tourist numbers

Zachary Ochuodho @zachuodho

Kenya has unveiled a National Tourism Master Plan that is expected to transform the country’s tourism sector into an innovative, vibrant, flexible and connected tourism destination by 2030. Under the Blueprint, Kenya’s tourism industry aims to increase the number of foreign and domestic tourists from four million to 26.4 million by 2030.

According to the master plan, the tourism industry targets to increase the number of direct jobs in the sector to 561,800 by 2030. The master plan is based on four pillars; product development, marketing strategy, investment promotion and first-class infrastructure.

Speaking while opening a two-day forum for stakeholders to discuss the transformative journey for the tourism sector, Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala said the sector must adapt and innovate in line with global trends.

The CS said the ministry will roll out a strategy that will ensure it works with all the 47 counties to identify and market untapped tourism products and experiences across the country. He said Kenya’s safari, beach and marine, nature, culture and heritage and city tourism, as well as business tourism, will be revamped and transformed into new products and authentic experiences that offer value to visitors coming into the country.

Balala said niche products such as medical tourism and agritourism will be reviewed and fresh marketing strategies refined to propel Kenya as a destination to a new level so as to increase its contribution to Kenya’s economy, create employment and income opportunities, the sector must adapt and innovate.

“It is no longer possible for travel and tourism providers or destinations to continue with the business as usual model. Innovation and change coupled with agility and ability to respond are critical for success today and into the future,” he said. He said the first priority must be to fix and unveil new products and re-vitalise its current markets – both local and international – in order to attract more visitors by 2019.

“We must introduce new products and expand into new source markets to attract new and more existing visitors,” said Balala adding that the ministry is undertaking a marketing strategy that will ensure that within the next one year, a new system of product sub-brands such as ‘iconic Safaris’, ‘Kenya Sun and Sea,’ ‘Kenya adventure’ and ‘cultural encounters’ will be in place.

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