Kenya banking on incentive tourism to hasten sector's recover
Published: Jul 25, 2021 08:09 AM
An operator for camel riding waits for tourists at Diani Beach in Kwale County, Kenya, on Oct. 21, 2020. (Photo: Xinhua)

An operator for camel riding waits for tourists at Diani Beach in Kwale County, Kenya, on Oct. 21, 2020. (Photo: Xinhua)

Kenya has developed a comprehensive strategy to promote the untapped incentive tourism niche and hasten the sector's revival after a slump occasioned by COVID-19 pandemic, officials said.

Muriuki Mureithi, a senior officer at Kenya National Convention Bureau (KNCB), said the government will tap into local and overseas incentive travelers to boost tourism sector recovery, create jobs and generate revenue to the exchequer.

"We have positioned the country as a safe destination for incentive travel and are confident of its potential to revive the tourism sector that is gradually emerging from pandemic downturn," said Mureithi in the coastal city of Mombasa during the arrival of a chartered flight from Romania carrying 53 incentive travelers who are slated to visit different scenic attractions in Kenya.

Mureithi said the Romanian tourists who are on a week-long vacation in Kenya will help promote the country as a safe destination after easing of COVID-19 restrictions.

He said Kenya has developed a conducive environment to spur growth of incentive tourism and compete favorably with established markets in Africa including Morocco, Seychelles. And the government will leverage meetings, incentive travel, conferences and exhibitions (MICE) to boost recovery of the tourism sector that contributes about 10 percent to the country's gross domestic product.

Anghel Cristian-Daniel, general manager of Map Travel that facilitated the arrival of 53 incentive travelers from Romania, said that Kenya remains an attractive destination for overseas tourists amid favorable weather and security.

He said there will be weekly chartered flights from Romania to Kenya with easing of travel restrictions combined with enhanced COVID-19 containment measures.

Jeff Mukolwe, general manager of Swahili Beach Hotel, said the ongoing vaccine rollout in the country has injected confidence in foreign tourists keen to sample beach destinations.

He said the 53 Romanian tourists were the first batch of incentive travelers to visit Kenya since the onset of the pandemic in March 2020, adding that the country's declining COVID-19 caseload was having a positive outcome on the tourism sector.