MARKETING

Kenya hunts for elusive American tourists at San Diego meet

The United States Tour Operators Association (USTOA) Annual Conference closes on December 10

In Summary
  • The region accounted for 16.3% of the total international arrivals between January to October.
  • Kenya enjoys non-stop access from the market with five-weekly flights from JFK to Nairobi scheduled by Kenya Airways from December 2021.
Tourism CS Najib Balalan during the reception of contributions towards the Magical Kenya Tembo Naming Festival Image: HANDOUT
Tourism CS Najib Balalan during the reception of contributions towards the Magical Kenya Tembo Naming Festival Image: HANDOUT

Kenya is banking on the North American Market to boost its international tourism numbers and hasten the sector’s recovery, Tourism and Wildlife Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala has said.

The country is among destinations promoting their tourism products and offerings in this year’s United States Tour Operators Association (USTOA) Annual Conference & Marketplace that ends Friday (today) in San Diego.

 The conference with 144 active members across the globe provides a forum to meet with top tourism executives, tour operator members on a one-to-one basis. 

Participants also get the chance to gain invaluable insights into the North American travel market and the latest factors and trends affecting the industry and travellers across the globe.

Speaking during the conference, Balala said the Covid-19 pandemic has taken a toll on the travel sector and called for concerted efforts towards its mitigation even as travels resume.

 He said the conference comes at a time when more synergies were required among players in the sector to protect the gains recorded in the tourism business in the recent past.

“With most people from the US and the larger Europe vaccinated, there is now a great urge for travelers to venture out and experience the world. Kenya is ready to receive you,'' Balala said 

KTB CEO  Betty Radier said participation in the event presents an opportunity to influence greater consideration for Kenya as a tourism destination among U.S travelers.

''We shall also have an opportunity to speak about Kenya’s unique selling propositions including the direct flight to New York and other developments in the destination such as improved transport infrastructure,” Radier said.

The USA is traditionally Kenya’s leading tourism source market. It recorded the highest arrivals into Kenya with 108,072 visitors contributing 16.3 per cent of the total arrivals between January to October.

Kenya enjoys non-stop access from the market with five-weekly flights from JFK to Nairobi scheduled by Kenya Airways from December 2021.

Airline access remains critical to the sector’s growth, with several carriers offering one-stop services into Nairobi from US gateways including Qatar Airways.