The Kenya Tourist Board (KTB) is presently on an extended marketing mission in the Gulf, concluding visits to Dubai and Abu Dhabi over the weekend heading to Doha, the capital of Qatar.
The Gulf region is of growing importance for Kenya as the large number of affluent expatriates working in the UAE, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, and Kuwait provide a significant pool of potential visitors, besides the citizens of these countries wanting to escape the summer heat and enjoy the beaches of the coast or the safari parks upcountry. The UAE are connected with Kenya from Dubai, Abu Dhabi and from Sharjah by Kenya Airways, Emirates, Etihad – which flies in code share with Kenya Airways, Air Arabia and even RwandAir, which has traffic rights between Mombasa and Dubai as part of their flights from Kigali. Saudia is flying to Nairobi from Riyadh and Jeddah, Oman Air from Muscat and Qatar Airways from Doha, offering easy connections at often spectacular special fares. KTB has in connection with their marketing mission just released the following media statement.
UAE, a fertile ground for Kenya’s tourism product offering
The Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) continues with its weeklong camp in the GCC countries in pursuit of a share of the outbound travelers in this region. KTB in the last two days met over 100 Destination Marketing Companies (DMC) in both Dubai and Abu Dhabi with a view of enhancing knowledge about Kenya and making direct contacts with the travel trade companies accompanying KTB.
Abu Dhabi which had a large town out of DMCs is the center of the UAEs oil and gas industry, thus a wealthy city where travelers are keen to sample luxury and unique products as offered by Kenya. KTB confirms that the focus has been on promoting luxury aspects of Kenya to the trade to a population whose disposable income is significantly high. In Dubai, where the majority of travel to Kenya from the region starts, the populace here is more aware on Kenya s tourism product but KTB was keen to highlight to the trade what is new. So far, Dubai has over the last 3 years shown the highest percentage in growth with numbers doubling in the last two years. KTB also had an opportunity to share with select media in the region an overview of Kenya with specific emphasis on tourism. KTB confirmed that Kenya is committed to security for all her visitors and appreciated the support of media in the region through coverage on Kenya especially through sporting events like the recent Dubai Sevens as well as various documentaries and features on Kenya which had elevated Kenya to the global map.
Addressing the DMCs from a city Hotel in Abu Dhabi, Kenya s Ambassador to the UAE, H.E. Ambassador Mohammed Gello applauded the Ministry of East African Affairs, Commerce and Tourism which through the KTB team was seeking out the UAE clientele. He urged KTB to constantly maintain presence in the region as other competing destinations have taken notice of the same market. He singled out unique places in Kenya like Nyeri from where Queen Elizabeth was pronounced queen and where the iconic Scouts movement leader, Baden Powell was buried as part of Kenya s untold stories laying emphasis on the need to front the various other products beyond wildlife and the beach. Ambassador Gello cited the relationship of Kenya and UAE as going back thousands of years through the coastal connection but had been crystallized more recently through opening up of foreign mission offices in both countries.
One of the biggest strengths that Kenya enjoys as it pursues tourists in the region is the level of connectivity through about 8 direct flights to Kenya a day; these are provided by Kenya Airways, Emirates, Etihad and RwandAir. The Ambassador assured the tour operators that the visa process to Kenya was smooth and that he and his team at the embassy in Abu Dhabi and the Consulate in Dubai were ready to assist travel agents even beyond working hours in cases of any challenges regarding visa issuance especially for large groups.
KTB proceeds on the final leg to Doha, Qatar where both media and DMC sessions are anticipated to build more awareness of Kenya as a destination of choice.