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Western circuit eyes luxury tourism market

Hospitality players in Western Kenya plan to start promoting the region’s leisure tourism whose potential remains largely untapped.

Western Kenya Hospitality Leaders’ Association chairman Robinson Anyal says the stakeholders have agreed on a common objective of promoting the region’s leisure tourism, which has been performing below 20 per cent in recent years.

According Anyal, the region’s leisure tourism has remained forgotten as private business proprietors concentrated on conference tourism, which accounts for nearly 80 per cent of the hospitality business in the region . “Besides keeping our good performance in conference business, we want to employ relevant strategies for promoting leisure tourism within the Western Kenya,” Anyal told Travelwise.

He said their plans include sustainable marketing and proper packaging of the available tourism products. These include  historical attraction sites such as Tom Mboya and Jaramogi Oginga Odinga mausoleums, Kakamega Forest and Ruma National Park whose presence is not largely being felt despite providing beautiful vacation sites.

The association will  work closely with Kenya Utali College to push for quality service delivery by hoteliers and other industry players. “We will also engage partners such as the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) in promoting tourism attractions within the circuit so that more domestic and international visitors can start finding the region a fascinating place to tour,” he said.

During the association’s investment conference held in Kisumu recently, poor packaging and marketing of tourism products were identified as some of the key factors bedevilling tourism growth.

Kenya Tourism Federation chairman Mohammed Hersi, who was a chief guest in the two-day event, blamed inadequacies in marketing and packaging of the region’s products as a reason for stagnanation of the sector. “The region is gifted with immense infrastructural developments including Kisumu International Airport, a good road network and water supplies, which are ingredients for leisure tourism,” he said.

Hersi said a lot needs to be done by the sector players within Western Kenya to shape-up the region’s domestic tourism. He challenged the players to play a proactive role in to create visibility. 

“As a federation, we feel there are a lot of opportunities available in the region that can spur domestic tourism. But what has been lacking is better ways of packaging and presenting them,” said Hersi.  Western Kenya Tourism circuit comprises Kisumu, Siaya, Homa Bay, Migori,

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