(eTN) – Two leading stakeholders in Kenya’s tourism industry, the Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) and national airline Kenya Airways (KQ), have yesterday put pen to paper to sign a one-year partnership agreement, aimed to jointly promote the country’s tourism attractions. While “The Pride of Africa” will inject 20 million Kenya shillings in cash and kind into the deal, the Kenya Tourism Board will provide visibility for the national airline at trade shows, sales missions, and, in fact, at every given opportunity, where KTB will be present over the coming 12 months.
Particular targets are a number of Kenya Airways’ destinations in Africa, India, the Middle East, and Far East, from where joint promotional activities are expected to yield higher visitor numbers for the country, which is struggling to recover from a series of negative anti travel advisories issued by supposedly friendly countries in the run-up to the general election, effectively ruining the run-up to the Easter season for beach resorts and safari lodges at the time.
Dr. Titus Naikuni, CEO of Kenya Airways, was in a media release, availed overnight, quoted to have said on the occasion of signing the agreement: “This partnership fits in well with our strategy to expand into some of the fastest-growing travel markets in Africa, India, [the] Middle East, and the Far East. We need to diversify into the huge African market for our tourists. We are seeking to give visibility and focus to our initiatives to market our country. We are delighted to join hands with KTB which will enable us to give added visibility to our business and the country.”
Kenya Airways had come on board similarly in 2008 with what was then called a Mega Fam Trip, when the airline flew over 200 travel agents and media persons from across Africa to Kenya, in what was then seen as rolling out a recovery program for the tourism industry, but which has since then also helped the airline to strengthen their market position across the continent while bringing an increasing number of African tourist visitors to Kenya’s shores and into the parks.
The Kenya Tourism Board is, in the meantime, awaiting a decision from the government on funding of the agency, after proposing an additional half a billion Kenya shillings to be injected in marketing and sales missions, to kick-start the sector after the slow start to 2013 as a result of pre-election jitters in key producer markets.
Another regular source from Nairobi added: “I think it is only fair, if not entirely sensible, that KQ and KTB join hands. They are natural partners. Kenya Airways’ in-flight magazine promotes Kenya across the network, as national airline KQ must have a special status with KTB and in the approach how to sell our beaches and parks. KQ is part and parcel of how we market conferences, is a key sponsor of sporting events, and is the single biggest provider of passengers for Kenya. For me, I hope this goes beyond just one year and will be a permanent feature, because united we stand, but divided, our competitors will take market share from us.”
Stakeholders of Kenya’s tourism industry have expressed cautious optimism for the current year in terms of arrivals and revenues, hoping that the second half of the year will help to make up for the lower numbers in Q1 and Q2.