Kenya is open for business, 24 / 7 / 365


(Posted 04th May 2016)

(Mrs. Jacinta Nzioka, AG CEO of the Kenya Tourism Board and this correspondent signing the visitor book)

Some tourism boards, even in the East African region, remain strangely tight lipped when it comes to media interaction but the Kenya Tourism Board has always had an open door policy for journalists, this correspondent no exception. It is in fact KTB which has become a premier source of information about new market trends, opening up new source markets for Kenya, often hand in hand with national airline Kenya Airways and other carriers flying into Nairobi. Arrival data are released as and when updates are available though the processing of those important statistics is done by other government agencies and only correlated by KTB once given access.

Earlier in the week did opportunity arise to put KTB’s hospitality once again to the test and meet for the first time face to face with Mrs. Jacinta Nzioka. It was the first meeting since she was appointed as Acting CEO by Tourism Minister Najib Balala after her predecessor Mr. Muriithi Ndegwa’s second term of office had ended. This was reported here at the time.

Jacinta discussed the positive impact of a series of measures taken by the Kenyan government after Najib Balala had returned to the tourism ministry and confirmed that not only was a new wind blowing through the corridors of the ministry and of KTB but that it was a wind of positive change which already brought renewed market confidence in the destination.

A Kenyan delegation will be at INDABA, Southern Africa’s largest tourism trade show soon kicking off in Durban, to promote the country. The recent announcement that Kenya Airways will be flying to Cape Town soon, besides their multiple daily flights between Nairobi and Johannesburg, makes South Africa and the Southern part of the continent a key market.

In fact did Jacinta also confirm that besides domestic tourism has regional tourism into Kenya grown in leaps and bounds, aided by the fact that expatriates living in Uganda and Rwanda can now travel without the need for Visa to enter Kenya under the so called Interstate Pass system. But it is also noteworthy that arrivals from across the continent of Africa have grown, with Kenya Airways playing a major role in connecting most major cities with Nairobi. That trend could strengthen substantially if African countries would make travel by Africans across Africa easier, as passport holders of Western countries often receive preferential access to a destination compared to fellow Africans, largely as a result of restrictive and often punitive Visa requirements dating back to colonial times.

While charter flights to Mombasa have seen the usual seasonal reduction for the low season will by mid-June or early July a number of airlines resume flights to the Kenya coast where the staff of the resorts are looking forward to welcome repeat guests as well as those who come to Kenya for the first time. Here notably have financial incentives by the government of Kenya helped to bring airlines back to Mombasa, now taking advantage of waivers for landing and related fees under a broad scheme of benefits.