A Kenyan tour operator is flying flower enthusiasts from leading export markets to flower growing zones in the country in what is christened ‘horticultural tourism’.
This new form of tourism by Cranbrook Tours’ in partnership with Locals and Associates Company Limited adds to an emerging global trend in agro-tourism, shifting the sector from traditional animal scenes and culture tourism.
The firm which is domiciled in Nairobi and offers all-round tour services including air booking and ticketing, airport transfers, visa application and hotel management last month flew in over 100 horticultural tourists to attend the just concluded 16th edition of the Naivasha Horticultural Fair.
During the tour, visitors had the opportunity to visit various flower farms in the country including Oserian Limited, Finlay Flower and Tambuzi Limited.
Founder Vincent Bett said niche tourism exposes visitors to unexploited sceneries in the country away from traditional wildlife and beaches, filling in for low seasons.
“Besides, it is the best way to showcase the country’s diverse investment areas to visitors cum investors. We fly in tourists mostly from Europe, majority from Netherlands, leading flower export market for Kenya,” he said.
Kenya ihas been a key producer in the world floriculture market in the late 1980s, with exports of 10,946 tonnes by 1988, which increased to 86, 480 tonnes by 2006, 120,220 by 2010 and 133, 685 by 2016.
The Africa’s Competitiveness in the Global Economy Report 2018 put Kenya’s flower industry among the leading players in the world’s fast-growing and dynamic flower export business, playing in the leagues of Netherlands, Colombia, Ecuador and Ethiopia, commonly referred to the big five in the world’s floriculture industry.
Bett made the decision to establish Cranbrook Tours and Travel in 2014 while on holiday in south east England to cater for inadequacies in the local specialist market.
‘’The idea to establish the travel company came from experiencing services from local travel agents, which in our opinion was not so good and profits oriented. We identified a gap as most agencies do not provide bespoke services, nor with a personal touch,’’ Bett said.