ITB CLOSES AMIDST OPTIMISM IN THE TOURISM SECTOR
(Posted 13th March 2017)
The International Tourism Bourse in Berlin, the world’s leading Travel Trade Show that provides a business platform for global touristic offers closed yesterday with a lot of optimism among the Kenyan participants.
Delegation leader, Cabinet Secretary for Tourism Najib Balala brought with him some 42 companies to represent the destination while also attending key international meetings on the sidelines of ITB 2017. Among them were the Hotel Investment Forum as well as a number of UNWTO sessions which served to introduce some of the candidates aspiring for the job of the Secretary General UNWTO.
(Hon. Balala (middle) seen here with his colleague Maurice Loustau-Lalanne from Seychelles (left) and the Seychelles candidate for UNWTO’s top job Alain St. Ange (right)
The Cabinet Secretary gave an update on the sector to the assembled media at the destination press conference that was held at the opening day of the ITB. Key issues shared with the media included the country’s enhanced positive image as a result of hosting many international fora, the positive growth in the sector at the close of 2016 as well as enhanced infrastructure that is complementing tourism efforts among other highlights.
Hon. Balala also had an opportunity to meet key tour operators and airlines in the European market like Condor and Thomas Cook to discuss long term partnerships and marketing cooperation to promote Destination Kenya. These companies have over the years supported marketing Kenya as a preferred destination to their clients.
Kenya was also represented at the 32nd meeting of the UNWTO World Tourism Network on Child Protection. The discussion focus was on the role of governments in advancing the fight against the exploitation of children in tourism which called on the communities, private sector, academia and most importantly governments to play a leading role in this. The forum provided an opportunity for exchange of experiences and best practices.
‘Kenya must continue to present her tourism offering in international forums to ensure that the destination is top of mind for travellers and marketing destination companies, ITB is one such platform. Tourism plays a key role in the Country’s economy and can therefore not be underestimated‘ said Hon. Balala.
The over 40 companies representing Kenya at the exhibition termed their participation as worthwhile. This came at the backdrop of positive information that will boost the sector. Kenya recently received the Category 1 status from the FAA to set in motion direct flights between the US and Kenya and the UK government only last weekend removed the travel advisory against travel to Lamu and Manda Island.
Last year’s ITB business success was rated at 93%, of the employed trade visitors achieved a very good to satisfactory business result at ITB Berlin. 82 % of the exhibiting companies rated the business success of their participation at ITB Berlin as positive. On the follow up business, the show stood at 88% for the exhibitors who expected a positive follow up after trade show business.
Kenya enjoys a substantial patronage of German tourists with the market‘s current standing being at fifth highest in the number of tourists to Kenya with a market share of 5% at the end of 2016. Germany, after the US, UK, India, , Uganda and China is therefore seen as an important core market in particular for the Kenya coast.