Businesses & Financial News

Kenya eyes Indian market to boost int’l tourism

Seth Emmanuel

The Indian market will play a significant role in the recovery of Kenya’s tourism sector, tourism players in Kenya have said.

The tourism arrival numbers during the period of Jan- April 202 already record a 55 % growth with 22,532 arrivals compared to 11,884 during the same period 2021.

This growth in numbers can be attributed to Kenya’ continued investment in the India market through marketing campaigns as well Kenya’s conformance to the Covid-19 protocols that provides assurance to travelers of their safety while in the destination.

Speaking during a dinner held to receive visitors from India at the Nairobi National Park, Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) CEO Dr Betty Radier said the board would continue to market Kenya in India and that she was optimistic of further improvement by the end of the year.

“We are seeing a lot of interest from the Indian market and we want this to continue, this is the reason we have employed a strategy specific to this market which is slowly evolving to be a key source market for Kenya.

In 2019, prior to the pandemic we had 122,649 travelers coming into Kenya and this year we already have a 55 percent improvement compared to last year during this period. We anticipate that we shall see about 80,000 travelers from India by close of this year which will be a major coup bearing in mind how India was hit by the pandemic” Said DR Radier

The visitors were the second batch of an incentive travel group from Reliance Industries (RIL’s), an Indian multinational conglomerate company, headquartered in Mumbai. The first group arrived in the country three weeks ago and have so far visited attractions in Nairobi and the Maasai mara.

“We are happy to see more visitors coming in from India, three weeks ago we had a group of around 150 people coming in and today we are hosting a similar number. The interest here is a combination of Business and Leisure and Magical Kenya has a lot to offer.

Through the groups we shall showcase the destinations preparedness against Covid-19as they sample the best from the destination.

Recently in march, India resumed International scheduled flights following a suspension instituted to curb the spread of Covid-19, the resumption has had a positive impact on travel between the two countries. In 2019, India’s flag carrier Air India relaunched its direct flights to Nairobi, a move that sought to boost tourism between the two countries.

The airline had earlier stopped operations on the route for eight years due to low volume of business.

Destination Management Company (DMC) Safari Trails CEO Rajay Thethi, says “Kenya is an important destination for Indian visitors with Kenya having a big Indian community.

The decision to remove PCR testing and resuming daily flights to India has been key in attracting the visitors to this market. Indians are interested in wildlife and this is the reason we are today seeing many Wildlife photographers from India. This group shall be visiting attractions in Nairobi and Maasai Mara” Said Thethi

India is currently a top five market for Kenya’s tourism and the two countries continue to have cordial relations bound by both history and culture.

This relationship has grown over the years as both countries share a common interest in promoting economic growth through trade and investment. To this end, India has been one of Kenya’s major trading partners since independence in 1963 with bilateral trade between the two nations growing steadily over the years.

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