Third Eye

Change of synergies will revitalise tourism

Tuesday, November 17th, 2020 00:00 |
Tour guides beg for stipends from Sh500m tourism budget.

Since independence, Kenya has marketed itself as the home of safari and beach. While this has worked in the past, there seems to be a problem.

All indications are the approach is no longer tenable. Little wonder the tourism sector continues to earn less and less despite its huge potential.

This is the time to change the offering and create a more sustainable sector. Not that the safari and beach are bad, but a change in synergies will go a long way towards exciting the “tired” sector.

As much as Covid-19 is being fingered for the dwindling fortunes, it is also fair to say the marketers of Kenya’s tourism are sleeping on the job.

The brick and mortar of a safari and beach must be clothed afresh, targeting the modern consumer.

Our knee-jerk reactions to terrorism and travel restrictions must change with a proactive approach to real fundamentals of the modern day tourist.

Using athletics is awesome, and the Tourism ministry’s attempts targeting golf, volley ball and rugby to market Kenya as a sports tourism destination are welcome.

There is no better time to solidify the new approach than now, when most travellers have taken a back seat due to Covid-19.

How about reaching out to tourists with virtual tours that will blow their minds, from the comfort of their homes?

We are looking forward to a future with less human interaction and more robots; the sector must give us an answer how it can adapt to these technological shifts. 

When tourists eventually flood Kenya, some will want to reconnect with the beaten path, but others will demand novel offerings.

The sector must be alive to the fact that the pandemic might change the sector for good.

Questions abound: Will more personalised experiences sell better? Do we need to do away with room service, to sell more food in the short term?

Should the country tap tourism leveraging weight loss now that people might have added a lot of weight during lockdown?

These should inform Kenya’s offering. On the flip side, it is unfortunate the sector is designed for the European, American and Asian markets. This needs to change.

The most important change must be in shifting the thinking that Kenya’s domestic market is an add-on.

As previously held, this is the country’s weakest link in tourism marketing.  

Charity begins at home, let the sector target more tourists from the East African region, and eventually Africa, so as we tap into the global market, Africa will be our main source of sustainability.

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