Kenya has now turned to Africa and emerging markets to sustain the country's tourism industry, due to the Eurozone crisis.
Europe is Kenya's largest source market and the ongoing crisis has forced the country to diversify its market and products on offer to entice tourists from emerging markets.
Speaking during the second annual Kenya Tourism Awards, tourism assistant minister Cecily Mbarire said Kenya has partnered with Morocco to help enrich its networks and insights into intra africa tourism business. "Despite our traditional source markets that take a bigger share in contributing to the total tourist arrivals to the country, Africa and emerging markets have shown remarkable growth in the recent past, an indication that it has a growth potential," said Mbarire.
Uganda is the biggest African tourism source market for Kenya followed by South Africa. IN 2011 Uganda brought in 42,674 visitors whereas South Africa with 38,354 arrivals by air and sea alone. The number is higher if arrivals by road are factored in though the government has previously noted it is not easy to collect such data.
India on the other hand has according to last year's industry data, dislodged France from the top five markets dominated by European countries and continues to show strong growth.
India was the fifth largest market with arrivals of 58,986 visitors in 2011. Three previously good European markets France, Austria and Netherlands registered negative growth. Tourists from France, Netherlands and Austria dropped by 3.6 per cent, 9.8 per cent and 10.5 per cent according to the 2011 statistics.
"Further, to confirm our seriousness with regards to regional and Africa market, a Kenyan delegation including the tourism players from the private sector recently visited Morocco to benchmark on success stories on the development and marketing of tourism products," said Mbarire.
Patricia Ithau, a director at Kenya Tourism Board said the country should focus on innovation and be more customer-oriented to grow the market. She urged private sector players to do their part dutifully to improve the industry even as they await for the government to act on policies that are geared at developing tourism.
Kenya Tourism Federation Chairperson Lucy Karume on her part said: "We have seen growth in the sector especially in domestic and regional tourist arrivals and this should be encouraged especially bearing in mind the Euro zone is still facing financial difficulties." The awards are organized by KTB and KTF to encourage excellence in the industry by revitalizing healthy competition among the players to raise the standards of services rendered to clients.