Kenya’s national carrier Kenya Airways and the Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) have entered into an agreement to influence the increase of tourist arrivals in the country through a combined marketing effort. As a part of this arrangement, Kenya Airways will be promoting KTB and its marketing efforts, the financial implications of which are around KShs 20 million. KTB will be reciprocating that support by increasing the brand visibility of KQ at tourism events, ensuring in the process that more and more tourist footfall is received in the country.
The recent efforts to boost tourism in the country are partly due to the fact that the country has experienced a minor downtrend in tourist influx in the country in 2012. Kenya saw a total of 1,785,382 visitors in 2011, which dwindled down to 1,780,768 in 2012; a minor 0.3% drop. However, the KTB is not taking things lightly. Reasons have been attributed to the euro zone crisis and also the insecurity that is prevailing due to terrorism.
Marketing arrangements are likely to be made in several important markets starting from Africa (in countries such as South Africa, Ethiopia, Egypt, Rwanda, Nigeria, Ghana and Cameroon), Asia (in cities Bangkok, Guangzhou, New Delhi and Mumbai) and the domestic Kenyan market. Efforts will also be made in several of the destinations that Kenya Airways is currently servicing in America, Middle-East and Europe.
A number of events, road shows and festivals have been earmarked wherein the two organizations will be jointly addressing the tourist market, trying to boost the travel sector. Efforts will also be made to rope in professional bodies and private brands to try and have them make a commitment as well.
While speaking on the signing occasion, Mr. Muriithi Ndegwa, managing director of Kenya Tourism has mentioned that the partnership could not have formed at a better time, especially with both the organizations facing increasing challenges in the form of the euro zone crisis, terrorism and not to mention competition from other tourism boards. He also added that there needs to be a paradigm shift in the manner in which Kenya Tourism has been promoting itself in the market. That change, he mentioned, must include a new approach for the traditional markets wherein Kenya Tourism must appear as a better package overall. Apart from that they should showcase themselves to every tourist aspiring to come to the continent putting themselves up as a serious contender for the best destination.
Also speaking on the occasion, Dr. Titus Naikuni, Kenya Airways Group Managing Director and CEO mentioned that this cooperation ushers well for both the organizations. Speaking on behalf of the national carrier he mentioned that their expansion plans in the growing tourism markets such as India, Middle East, Africa and Far East coincides with the expectations that Kenya Tourism Board has out of this joint marketing programs. The carrier is looking to expand deeper into the vast and growing African market while at the same time looking to build on the network that they already have on other markets in the world. They are thus thrilled to be a part of this effort which is going to affirm Kenya as a strong global tourism destination while also establishing Kenya Airways as a global carrier in the potential markets. He also mentioned that the target audience for both the organizations are the same and that means with a combined effort they have a better chance of reaching out to this audience.
Mr. Muriithi also added that Kenya’s tourism sector is one of the highest contributor to the exchequer and thus the efforts by the government to promote the industry is in direct relation with efforts to improve the economy as a whole.
Kenya Airways is hoping that via this agreement they would be able to maintain their domination in the aviation sector of Africa while being able to promote Kenya as the destination of choice for tourism.
Dr. Naikuni also mentioned that this partnership perfectly complements the airline’s 10-year fleet and route expansion plan and is going to help them take advantage of the current revamping and expansion of the airports in the country. He mentioned, this partnership will be a major boost to attaining of the economic blueprint of the country, vision 2030.