New marketing tactics and infrastructure development are among government strategies to make Kenya a world-class tourist destination.
Speaking to investors in Malindi on Friday, Tourism CS Najib Balala said the strategies are among consultants’ recommendations.
The consultants recommended that products be developed to fit the demands of tourists. They also called for development of road networks.
“People don’t care about coming to beautiful rooms with air-conditioners. It’s the experience right from arrival at the airport until they depart. Every experience should stick with what the clients want,” Balala said.
He spoke during the launch of the Dream Gardens Resort. The resort is part of the Plan Hotel World Beach Resorts in Kenya.
The CS said about 1.5 million tourists arrived last year, a 10 per cent increase. Tourism earnings increased from Sh98 billion to Sh120 billion.
Balala urged investors to improve their products to attract more tourists. There have been calls to expand the Malindi International Airport to attract more tourists from Europe, especially Italy.
“US citizens who take more than 25 hours to come to Nairobi are number one with 119,000 arrivals,” Balala said. It takes eight hours to fly from Italy to Mombasa.
Balala said the ministry will also improve beach marketing to boost tourist numbers. Diani, Mombasa,
Watamu, Malindi and Lamu beaches have already been identified for the project. The beaches will also feed the Tsavo National Park with tourists.
“In three months, I will appoint a consultant for the next one year to implement the strategies and make them work. Don’t assume we don’t listen to investors. We feel you,” Balala said.
The CS also urged the investors to promote domestic tourists, citing Mombasa which survives with both local and regional markets. “When Malindi was booming, it was booming because people in Malindi decided to move it,” the CS said.