Kenya expects a significant travel demand from India especially once the international scheduled flights resume. Under the air bubble with India, Kenya has recorded a 4.1% growth in Indian arrivals with 31,644 visitors compared to the same period last year. Dr. Betty Addero Radier, Chief Executive Officer, Kenya Tourism Board, shares her opinion about the current scenario.
With uncertainty still prevailing, how do you see 2022 for outbound travel?
With mass vaccinations across the globe and concerted efforts on protocols against the covid-19 pandemic, tourism business is expected to recover over the period with resumption of both in-bound and out-bound travels.
It is expected that the destinations will put, as a first priority, focus on health and safety of travelers in and out of their boundaries. Further, in line with the UNWTO predications, we anticipate the outbound travel to Africa is likely to resume in 2023 depending on how the situation unfolds. Nevertheless, Kenya continues to monitor the situation and is keen to continue facilitating safe travel.
Do you foresee a significant demand from India market?
We do anticipate a significant travel demand from India especially once the international scheduled flights resume, this will increase flight options thus reduction on the cost of air fares due to competition. At present, even with the air bubble India within the period of January to October, this year, has recorded a 4.1% growth in arrivals into Kenya with 31,644 visitors compared to the same period last year.
It is encouraging that our travel trade partners are also informing on the growing number of enquiries for travel into Kenya. Given that India has been among our top priority markets, we remain optimistic that this will continue given the destinations attractive experience offering and easy air access.
Any new trend in terms of international travel?
In terms of emerging travel trends, we have seen a keenness towards health and safety, travelers are more conscious with regards to the health and safety measures in place to safeguard their travel. Hence Kenya’s response in aligning with the international standards through the establishment of the Magical Kenya Tourism and Travel Health and Safety Protocols. We have witnessed increased number of small groups and solo travel as a precautionary measure hence segments such as FIT’s Couples, Group of Friends, Special Occasion travelers among others. Travelers are also seeking responsible and sustainable travel continue to look for experiential travel geared towards adventure, culture, culinary for which Kenya is ideally placed to offer given its diverse tourism offering.
Post Pandemic, do you foresee India still featuring amongst your top priority markets?
Yes, we are optimistic as mentioned the direct air access, our marketing initiative focus and KTB’s intent to continue working closely with the travel trade from both countries to create awareness and avail competitive travel packages will aid in ensuring that Kenya remains a top-of-mind destination and this offers us a competitive advantage.
How are you tweaking your marketing strategy for 2022?
Our marketing strategy continues to respond and incorporate the changing dynamics. KTB has embraced the digital space more to tap into the segment, which is online and ready to travel. The new trade of remote working has brought out the need to package products to suit this segment. KTB also continues to enlist strategic partners and brand affiliations to aid in the global recovery of the tourism sector.
Any new updates in terms of attractions or tourism infrastructure upgrade in the destination?
KTB in 2019 launched its Magical Kenya signature experience collection which consists of carefully curated unique and authentic Kenyan travel experiences that are exceptional and memorable. The collection consists of 44 signature experiences that are unique to Kenya and will offer choices of experience to the diverse needs of our visitors.
Which segments of tourism will be your focus once tourism restarts?
KTB will continue to focus on the Leisure, MICE and VFR segment including couples, groups, families, business and special occasion travelers to grow its tourism arrival figures into Kenya.
Which are the new destinations that you will be promoting? Kenya is renowned known for its Safari offering in Maasai Mara, however our safari experiences is expansively spread throughout the destination from the North, South, East and Western parts of the country including within our the city of Nairobi. We also have our beach and water sporting experiences found along our Kenyan Coast accessible by both road and air.
By when do you foresee MICE and corporate travel market to bounce back?
At this point in time, it is difficult to say with any level of certainty given that the ongoing pandemic presents some unpredictability however, for Kenya we are receiving some level of MICE and corporate travel, thus we expect an immediate bounce back as Kenya continues to prioritize health and safety through mandatory vaccination measures and the adoption of hybrid options as we globally continue to build travel confidence.
Are you planning any trade engagement activities in India market?
Yes, KTB is keen to resume its offline marketing activities once the situation is believed to have normalized. We are keen to engage with the Indian travel trade and fast track the sectors recovery and contribution to economic growth.