•Initiative targeted at both local and international visitors.
•This is part of the bigger strategy to diversify tourism offerings to the traveler.
Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) wants tour operators to include tea tourism as part of their travel package for domestic and international visitors.
Acting chief executive John Chirchir says the "tea-tourism experience" is a ready product that should be packaged and included in travel itineraries, as part of the bigger strategy to diversify Kenya's tourism offerings.
During a tour by a Malaysian trade mission at Kipsigis Tea Highlands factory in Bomet, Chirchir said tour operators should leverage on the popularity of Kenya as a tea exporting country to package and sell tea experiences tours.
"We are already on the global map as a tea destination and we have to leverage this opportunity by showing the visitors how we process our popular tea from the bush to the cup, “said Chirchir.
The Malaysian delegation is visiting Bomet county for investment opportunities in the trade and tourism sectors.
Bomet governor Hillary Barchock said the combination of tea tourism and wildlife safari will enhance visitor experience in the South Rift region.
"Our county is a gateway to the famous Maasai Mara game reserve and having tea tours as part of travel itineraries in the South Rift tourism circuit is a perfect combination of an authentic Kenyan safari," said the governor.
He said Bomet would host a tea marathon annually as part of the initiative to popularising the tea experience.
"In November this year, we shall be having a debut tea marathon in Bomet. That will be an annual exercise which will reinforce the position of the county for tea tourism besides other existing attractions," Barchock said.
Peter Mutinda, Africa Director My Events International, in charge of trade and investment networks, said Malaysia offers a huge potential for foreign visitors to Kenya.
"There is a high potential in this country as the people are interested in wildlife safari and our good weather and we should capitalise on this," said Mutinda.
He said the middle-aged groups in the country have disposable incomes, and are ready for leisure travel and investment opportunities.
"Asia should be our next tourists source market that Kenya needs to explore and take advantage of their growing economies, "he said
Kenya's High Commissioner to Malaysia Francis Muhoro, who led the trade mission, said the two countries should ride on their already existing strong ties to promote trade.
He said apart from trade, other areas Kenya stands to benefit include transfer of farming technology, education, and other sectors of the economy.
Muhoro said Malaysia has finalised arrangements to receive avocado exports from Bomet, with governor Barchok hopeful that the county will be Kenya's largest exporter of the fruit in the next three years.
Bomet has received university scholarships for 10 students to study various courses at the Open University of Malaysia.