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  • Friday, May 24, 2024
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BusinessDay

Why Nigeria is top on Kenya’s list for travel, tourism expansion

Nigeria recorded a total of 518,000.00 tourists in 2021, ranking 68th in the world in absolute terms.

In 2021, Nigeria generated around 265.00 million US dollars in the tourism sector alone. This corresponds to 0.056 percent of its gross domestic product and approximately 23 percent of all international tourism receipts in Western Africa

Currently, Nigeria has the record of being the most travelled indigenous African while the Nigerian route remains the most profitable route per passenger on the African continent.

With the economic downturn, coupled with stringent visa conditions introduced by many countries in Europe, Asia and the United States, many Nigerians are reviewing their travel destinations and are beginning to exploit African countries.

The same situation also applies to other Africans who now visit African countries for tourism. For Kenyans, Nigeria is another destination they are excited about.

Kenya recently carried out a roadshow with the aim of having a slice of the number of Nigerians who embark on business, leisure and tourism travels. It was learnt that Kenya is targeting to raise tourist arrivals from West Africa by pitching for business and leisure travel.

John Chirchir, Kenya’s Tourism Board (KTB) Acting CEO, said the West African market remained integral to its strategy to diversify tourist source markets and broaden the country’s destination portfolio.

In particular, he noted that Nigeria and Ghana, have shown improvements of six per cent and 48 percents respectively in 2023 and rank among Kenya’s potential markets in the African continent.

He made this known during a meeting held to mark the beginning of a series of roadshows in the Nigeria and Ghanaian cities of Lagos, Abuja and Accra. KTB and Kenya Airways led over 15 travel and trade companies for in-market activations held from February 5-9, 2024.

“With around 1.4 billion people, Africa stands as one of the biggest source markets for trade, business, and tourism. We are starting off with West Africa with roadshows in Accra, Lagos and Abuja which are interesting emerging markets. During the activation, we expect the 17 Kenyan trade companies to engage in business meetings and direct engagements with potential travellers from the three cities. We cannot ignore the potential that the African Market has for tourism” Chirchir stated.

Alex Tunoi, the marketing manager of Kenya Tourism Board, said the reason why they are in Nigeria is part of their strategy for diversifying the source markets, adding that they are focusing on West Africa as one of their key source markets to grow numbers of tourism arrivals into Kenya.

He said the Board had observed that “Africans are beginning to travel, and they have the propensity for travel, and they are looking for new and exciting destinations. And we are here as Kenya to offer this opportunity to this market for them to come to Kenya and enjoy what Kenya has to offer.”

Tunoi also said that the Kenya Tourism Board came with trade partners, two operators, and hoteliers, to develop packages for the Nigerian market.

“That means that by engaging with the Nigerian trade partners, we can share with you all the attractions that Kenya has to offer. And also share with you what the government has put in place to ease travel restrictions to make Kenya more accessible to the market. And that is why we are here. Putting our business people in touch with your business people. So this is a business-to-business meeting so that we will be able to work with the trade here, through this partnership and grow travel arrivals into Kenya,” he said.

Rotimi Martins, Sales Manager at Kenya Airways, Nigeria said the reason for the event is that Kenya Tourism Board is trying to sell to the West African destinations and prominently Nigeria and Ghana, have that traction to give them the population they are looking at to enter Nairobi.

Martins said all is to boost leisure and tourism for Kenya. “If the Kenya tourism board is having an event of this nature, Kenya Airways must surely collaborate with them to make it a success. That is why we are here as a partner in business and as a sister company to KTB. So that is the essence of today’s event.

“You can see there lots of people you are seeing here are travel agents or we call them trade partners. They are the people who will assist us boost our destination Kenya. That is talking of Nairobi, Mombasa, Diani and the host of other tourist points in Kenya. So that is the essence of the event.”

Speaking on how prepared they are for the initiative, he said, “Frequency increment has been a thing we are looking at even before the KTB event. Presently, we are doing seven flights out of Lagos, which is every day. But come April, we are going to add one to it, to make it eight. But come the summer of this year, we are going to do 10 flights out of Lagos to Nairobi.

“We are doing a seven-day flight out of Lagos but we are going to increase it to eight come April. Additional one flight, which means on day seven of every week, we will do morning and night. But come June, we are going to do ten out of Lagos. That is at the inception of the summer period. Then towards the end of the year, a little bit after summer, we are going to start Abuja. So, we will be flying out of Abuja and out of Lagos. So most likely 15 to about 18 flights out of Nigeria. That is what we are going to do.”

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