Tourism sector players push for radical shift in marketing

Thursday, September 2nd, 2021 00:00 |
Tourism. Photo/File

Tourism industry players are pushing for a more robust marketing strategies to ensure the country taps into the burgeoning global market. 

National and county governments, they said, should work jointly to launch an expansive global marketing campaign to promote its tourism in the face of threats the destination has been grappling with, including growing competition from neighbouring countries.  

Lake Nakuru Lodge marketing director Joseph Muya observed that currently the country is not fully benefitting, unlike other countries in the region.

In particular, he singled out Rwanda which has invested heavily in sports in the European market by encouraging more visits to their country, stating that the same was working wonders. 

Speaking at Lake Nakuru National Park yesterday, Muya said the relevant ministries were not engaging sector players on ways the industry could be bolstered.

“The government needs to pump in more funds in the sector to ensure products are identified in specific counties and marketed so as to bring in more revenues,” he said.

Muya revealed that there was not enough branding of products in the country, saying tourism is synonymous with the hospitality industry.

“Rwanda is a small country but their branding is top notch, they have prioritised tourism through marketing in the international market and you are seeing returns like a partnership with Arsenal FC,” said Muya who disclosed that despite the industry being hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic, a number of players had not received the government stimulus programme. 

The government had released a Sh3 billion tourism stimulus package to help mitigate the effects of Covid-19 on businesses. 

Payment is being extended to hoteliers in the form of “soft loans” through the Tourism Finance Corporation (TFC). 

However, according to Muya, despite money being released to aid and cushion the tourism sector players, most of them had not received the funds, saying it has been tough for them to remain afloat. 

Slowly pick up

“The local tourism market has been able to keep them in business by visiting, helping them to slowly pick up after eight months of closure,” he said.  

Lake Nakuru National Park Warden Edward Karanja said that just like the other sectors in the tourism industry, Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) had been negatively affected by the pandemic.

He said last year, they recorded a sharp decline in tourists visiting the park and their facilities, adding that as part of the recovery programme they benefited from the government’s economic stimulus programme. 

Karanja said that part of the package was used to employ 100 community scouts assisting in park operations like maintaining the game proof barriers and monitor wildlife among members of the public in taming Human-Wildlife conflict. 

“We had very few visitors last year, however, we have recorded a steady rise since February and we hope the trend will continue until post-Covid days,” he added. 

He lauded Kenyans for their support during the pandemic, saying a majority of those who visited the park were local tourists. 

Karanja called on more Kenyans to support the industry and enjoy the uniqueness of the wildlife, insisting that they have observed the Covid-19 Ministry of Health protocols. 

More on News