Global tourism fairs giving us raw deal, says Kenya

Wednesday May 9 2018

Tourists. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Tourists. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

By OCHIENG' OREYO
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Kenya has scaled down participation in tourism fairs across the world, saying the shows were not adding value to its growth strategy. 

Scrutiny of past appearances shows that Kenya was not getting value for money and would only participate in ITB Berlin, the largest tourism show which happens in March, said Tourism ministry spokesman Mulei Muia. Kenya will be a no-show at the World Tourism Market of London, which takes place in November, a considerably big event that is estimated to attract up to 50,000 participants.

Indeed, Kenya does not have a stand at the ongoing Travel Indaba in Durban, an event that has attracted 1,747 buyers and 1,120 exhibitors from cross the world. The show, attended by nine tourism ministers from Africa, ends today. “It was a policy and strategic decision not to participate as the return on investment wasn’t worth it.

“This was informed by research and analysis undertaken on many tourism trade fairs, Indaba included,” said Mr Mulei on the non-appearance at the event attended by East African Community neighbours Rwanda, Tanzania and Rwanda and companies from the countries.

Limited appearance at the marketing fairs was the Kenya Tourism Board’s strategy, Mr Mulei said, adding that KTB would, apart from the ITB show, attend “a couple more (but) not the World Travel Market of London.”

A search of exhibitors revealed that there was no Kenyan company at the event that is also marking Nelson Mandela’s centenary celebrations.

It would have been the icon’s 100th birthday this year. To mark the date, South Africa Tourism, organisers of the event, has identified 100 experiences including attractions and destinations tied to Mandela’s life.

Nicanor Sabula, chief executive of Kenya Association of Travel Agents (Kata) who is attending the Indaba event, said that there was a need for Kenya and South Africa to lead the drive to win more tourists and travellers to the continent that accounts for five per cent of the global tourism market.