•"Current travel trends require that tour operators change their model of operation from travel coordinators to experienced designers to cater to the current traveler,"Radier
•Travelers who had postponed travel are now rebooking which is a positive for tour operators.
The tourism sector is recovering from the effects of Covid-19 with tour operators experiencing an average of 49 per cent improvements in their businesses.
The sector was among the hardest hit by the onset of the pandemic which saw nearly 1.2 million jobs lost according to the latest Economic survey.
Speaking during a stakeholder consultative forum organized by the Kenya Association of Tour Operators (KATO) CEO Fred Kaigua said the partnerships between the private sector and government have been key in the recovery journey of tourism businesses in Kenya.
"Currently, we have an average improvement of 49 per cent with most operators benefiting from this," said Kaigua.
The forum which was held in Nairobi on Friday was to discuss the status of tourism recovery and key activities going forward as well as insurable risks in tourism and available solutions.
Betty Radier, Kenya Tourism Board(KTB) CEO urged tour operators to embed inclusivity, sustainability, and resilience in their business models to ensure that the sector continues to be a driver of economic and social progress.
She said that the current travel trends and scenarios require that tour operators change their model of operation from travel coordinators to experienced designers to cater to the current traveler.
“The new traveler is discerning and very demanding, especially because they can see everything online," said Raider.
"They choose their next travel destinations based on the offerings available which then requires us to have a competitive edge against other destinations."
She added that tour operators need to move from just being coordinators to now also selling opportunities and experiences to attract the interest of the traveler.
"Investment in the human resource will be important for us to achieve this goal,” said Radier.
The Kenya Tourism Federation (KTF) chairman, Fred Odek lauded the collaboration between government and the private sector at a time when the pandemic had affected business.
He assured that the private sector would continue to play its role in bringing in visitors and selling compelling packages.
"Destination is open for business and Kenya should be on the bucket list destination for all travelers," said Odek.