The Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) has attributed the growth of tourism business in the country to a strong partnership from the private sector.
According to KTB, the joined partnerships with the private sector especially in familiarization tours to key attractions across the country and trade forums has greatly assisted in minimising direct expenditures in light of budgetary constraints.
Speaking during the inaugural Magical Kenya Loyalty Rewards Program held on the sidelines of the 3rd edition of the East African Regional Travel Expo (EARTE), Francis Gichaba, KTB chairperson, observed that brands are not built in isolation and that tourism numbers cannot grow without synergy within the sector.
“The Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) is ready to work with all stakeholders to ensure that we show value to potential travellers. Our goal is to reach 5.5 million tourists in the next five years, and everyone has a role to play in this,” said Gichaba.
“This is why we have initiatives such the Magical Kenya loyalty Rewards Programme, vital in appreciating the role that tourism stakeholders and our partners play in growing tourism business whilst laying the foundation for further growth of our tourism product. Some of the partners have been critical in providing us discounts in travel and accommodation, which has played an important role in our marketing efforts,” he added.
The Magical Kenya Loyalty Rewards program is aimed at recognizing and appreciating stakeholders who support and participate in KTB-led initiatives every financial year including travel exhibitions and expos, trade workshops, trade and media familiarization trips among other activities.
At least 44 partners were recognized in the maiden scheme that is ranked based on a tier system with Kenya Airways emerging top in the Platinum category, whereas a host of hospitality and tour and travel firms were awarded silver and bronze recognition categories respectively.
Rose Kiseli, Kenya Airways general manager for Africa, said the joint partnerships between KTB and the national carrier have boosted the number of arrivals from key tourist source markets.
“The joint roadshows we have had especially in Europe, East and West Africa has availed us an opportunity to grow numbers and intra-Africa Network,” said Kiseli.
She pointed out that a return in leisure tourism was a major boost to travel business, disclosing that the national carrier currently records 30 flights weekly from Europe ahead of the holiday season.
‘’We also have a high demand for domestic travel and we are ready together with our subsidiary airline-Jambojet to offer adequate capacity for our domestic connections,” said the general manager.
On his part, John Chirchir, acting CEO, KTB, said that KTB has partnered with hoteliers, tour operators and airlines to drive demand for Kenya’s tourism products, noting that the Magical Kenya Experiences (MKSE) programme is anchored on partnerships with facility and product owners.
He noted that marketing partnerships enable brands to reach out directly to travellers and tailor messages accordingly and hence the need to intensify and create efficiencies.
“International travellers are now more aware of the experiences they desire, they are able to research and piecing together a map of their own desirable destinations that can be self-fulfilled,” said Chirchir.
“Through the partnerships we are able to design experiences and even reach out to travellers with the right information and hence create interests,” he noted.
The loyalty awards scheme marks KTB’s renewed focus on working closely with travel trade partners both locally and internationally as part of efforts to drive sustained tourism growth.