Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala will lead Kenya’s delegation on a charm offensive at the International Tourism Bourse (ITB) in Berlin, Germany this week.
County representatives from Nairobi, Mombasa, Kwale and Uasin Gishu counties will join hoteliers and other tourism stakeholders in bolstering Balala’s team of 42 Kenyan exhibitors seeking to increase frequency of tourists’ chartered flights to Mombasa and Malindi.
A statement from the Ministry said Mr Balala is also scheduled to meet the chartered flight operators from Italy and Germany where he will brief them on Charter Incentive Programme (CIP) that provides for a Sh3,000 subsidy per passenger for every aircraft whose 80 per cent of the travellers terminate their journey at Malindi and Mombasa airports.
“The two-year grace period will also see all chartered aircraft ferrying tourists to the two world famous tourists destinations enjoy free landing as all the fees have been waived,” said the statement last week.
The ministry said the incentives are aimed at rewarding operators who end their journey in Kenya as proof that the country is their destination of choice.
Game reserves and national park fees have been revised to allow more local and foreign tourists to visit the facilities thereby creating more jobs for Kenyans who once worked at tourist lodges and camps located in various parts of the country.
“Kenya’s tourism sector is looking up and we are positive that our source markets will respond to the positive gains. We appeal to Kenyans to patronise the tourist lodges and national parks,” said Mr Balala.
Kenya enjoys a substantial patronage with German tourists having a market standing of fifth highest in the number of tourists to Kenya with a market share of 5.1 per cent.
Tourism Principal Secretary, Mrs Fatuma Hirsi, and Kenya Tourism Board acting chief executive officer, Mrs Jacinta Nzioka-Mbithi, will be among those championing the Kenyan cause during the all important event.
All exhibitors will be hosted by the board under the banner of the country’s tourism brand, Magical Kenya.
The move follows over two years of poor performance of the industry mainly blamed on terrorism incidents that have been followed by travel advisories among the country’s key source markets of the UK and Europe.
Beefing up of security and a sustained marketing campaign by the parent ministry and the tourism board, have began to bear fruit with the numbers looking up.