The hospitality sector in Western Kenya is gearing up to host a travel agents conference next month as part of strategy to market the region’s tourism gems.
The event dubbed Western Kenya Familiarisation Trip slated for April 2 to 6 is expected to bring on board Nairobi-based travel trade managers, among other tourism sector players, to market the Western circuit.
The five-day event is being spearheaded by We Western Kenya, a consortium of hoteliers, tour operators and airline operators within the region.
The private-sector driven initiative is a collaboration between hospitality sector partners and seeks to coordinate with other investors in travel trade in marketing the region as a tourism destination both at the regional and international markets. The consortium’s chairman, Ouma Oluoko said they plan to showcase a variety of experiences in six out of the 14 counties that form the Western Circuit.
Western Kenya Tourism Circuit comprises Kisumu, Siaya, Homa Bay, Migori, Kisii, Nyamira, Kericho, Vihiga, Bungoma, Busia, Kakamega, Nandi and Trans Nzoia counties. Oluoko said the marketing drive seeks to woo both domestic and international tourists.
“The outcome of the conference and familiarisation tours will showcase to the highly influential participants the tourism attractions in this region with an aim of positively selling the scenic sites locally and internationally,” Oluoko added.
Acacia Premier Hotel General Manager Duncan Mwangi said the marketing initiative would help bridge the huge gap in the hospitality sector business. “The region has a huge, untapped potential for the domestic tourism. We want to collectively market what Western Kenya has to offer for the domestic and international tourism market,” Mwangi said.
Kisumu county Tourism executive Achie Alai said plans to set up a convention centre in the lakeside city would also spur hospitality business. The facility is expected to be constructed through the county and national government funding and is expected to attract new hotels, especially along the shores of Lake Victoria.
“Our commitment is increase the region’s capacity on conference business ahead of the 2021 African Cities Summit in Kisumu,” said Achie.
She urged the region’s tourism players to register with associations so as to jointly market its opportunities through single entities.