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Tourism Sector Reaps From Royal Wedding

Friday, May 20, 2011 - 00:00 -- BY KIMUTAI NGENO

To some, it might pass as any
other story filling pages in the local and foreign publications or prolonged
air time in TV stations the celebration, colour and pomp that marked the great D-
day for the royal family - the Britain’s Prince William and Kate Middleton
marriage on 29th April 2010, in UK.

The enthusiasm across the
globe evidenced by curious viewers glued to their TV sets in their homes and
social places for live or recorded TV coverage or the pictorials, pieces in the
daily newspapers on the royal wedding adds to the importance attached to the
event.

It is this enthusiasm that has provided a
fantastic marketing opportunity windfall to the tourism sector. It is the
opportunity that has presented itself at a time when the industry is recording
an improved performance in the international tourist arrivals.

UK alone, the leading Kenya’s traditional source
market has recorded an improvement of 10.6% within the first quarter (Jan-March)
posting 42,638 arrivals up from 38,555 in the same period last year. Arrivals
in other source markets put to an improvement of 15% to the total arrivals
within the quarter compared with the same period last year.

To put in perspective, the couple’s marriage was a climax and the
fulfillment of a proposal made by the two after a visit to Kenya in October last year. While taking a fishing tour on Lake Rutundu in the foot of Mt. Kenya the
second tallest mountain in Africa, Price William proposed to Kate Middleton that one
day (29th April 2011) they will be made one-as a wife and husband.

Some four weeks have passed after the marriage and the enthusiasm still
alive in Kenya’s tourism sector. The royal marriage has propelled Kenya’s image globally as a tourist destination- or may
be as a royal destination.

Kenya herself holds special meaning to the royal
family; William's grandmother also made history here in 1952 when, as a young
princess at the Treetops lodge in Nyeri, she learnt she had become a queen!

It is this Royal history
that has reinforced Kenya’s recognition as a tourism destination not only to
the royalty but to the global market. The sector through its marketing agency Kenya Tourist Board (KTB) has indeed cashed on the phenomenon to pitch
Kenya as not only a destination known for beach and wildlife but as a romantic’
destination full of diversity .

For firsthand experience on Kenya’s honey moon spots, KTB in
partnership with tour operators and airlines flew in a couple; Daniel Lindsay
and Kelly Meads whose marriage coincided with the royal wedding.

This was followed by a group of Journalists from one of the daily
publication Daily Express  in UK for coverage on some of the honey
moon destination couples or honey moon seekers visiting Kenya would sample.

With the international media dedicating pages on the royal wedding, TV
stations running prerecorded programmes, Kenya is definitely at the top of mind
for every potential tourist.

It is not only after the wedding that Kenya’s image as an ideal destination
for honey mooners got global media attention, rather soon after the couple made
their proposal public in October last year.

The international media was immediately filled
with stories on the couple with the leading news outlets such as CNN, Sky news,
BBC and all other major international TV networks giving slots for interviews
and features on the couples.

KTB’s former chairman Mr. Jake Grieves
Cook took an interview during the BBC news to show case Kenya’s rich and
diversity as a honeymoon destination.

Tourism minister Najib Balala, hosted a
pre-recorded radio interview for syndication to radio outlets both in UK and
Ireland. Radio agencies aired pieces on couple’s
engagement. Travel and bridal publications, and travel sections of national
newspapers across the globe carried special features on the engagement.

 E-newspapers also played their role, besides the social media
that has proved a strong medium of exchange of information. Magical Kenya website
www.magicalkenya.com tracking
on the traffic soon after the couple’s engage to get married was massive, with
thousands of visits recorded.

KTB placed advertisement themed ‘Kenya as a
honeymoon destination in the leading publication in the UK and with the partnership of tour
operators, it gave special romantic holiday package for travelers wishing to
visit Kenya.

Online campaign
on popular sites such as You and Your wedding.com, Bridesmagazine.co.k, BBC and
CNN online campaigns with romance themes advertisement among others provide a
platform for potential leisure seekers to get to know more about Kenya as a
destination.

Given a choice for honeymoon, one will probably be spoilt for a choice;
places such as Il Ngwesi Lodge in Laikipia, Chui Lodge in Naivasha, Finch Hattons in Tsavo West and Shompole are just among
the many honey moon spots distributed across the country.

Other exciting experiences such as balloon
safari in the popular Maasai Mara game reserve also provide equally a good
opportunity for honey mooners, couple’s and leisure seekers to enjoy their
excursion in Kenya.

 

The writer is the Acting Public Relations Manager
for Kenya Tourist Board