Officials of the Kenya Tourism Board are visiting Kuwait City, Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Doha in a week-long campaign aimed at wooing Gulf travellers to its luxury destinations and beginning in Kuwait with an appeal Kenyan Ambassador Mohamed Aden Mahat.
“[The Gulf states] have the economic power,” began the diplomat. “But while various destinations compete for their attention, especially during their holiday months between June and September, Kenya has an authentic product and experience for those who visit.”
“Besides beach and wildlife, this market is interested in honeymooning, adventure, quality accommodation, culture and all that is uniquely Kenyan.”
The tourism board noted the two national parks, balloon safari, water sport activities, the country’s duo of ‘very superior’ golf courses and the ‘Billionaire Resort’ in Malindi by Italian businessman Flavio where it is possible to meet celebrities from all over the world.
The ambassador added that Gulf residents have a smooth visa process into Kenya, and could get a ‘Schengen-type’ visa for Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda, while noting that “what we need is to invest more in the market through further direct interaction with the consumers.”
Following this ethos, after working on the initial awareness of what Kenya has to offer with the media in each city, the tourist board is arranging for local tour to meet its delegations accompanying travel trade companies for one-to-one business discussions.
The ambassador also urged tour operators not to judge Kenya harshly after last year’s Al-Shabab attack, assuring his audience that all efforts were in place to ensure the continuity of a safe and secure environment conducive to the needs of tourism and business alike.
At present, tourism contributes to about 12% of Kenya’s GDP, and while about 47% of visitors to Kenya come from Europe and the UK, only three percent arrive from the Middle East.