Kenya Bets Big On CNN Adverts To WooTourists

Kenya is set to roll out a multi-million shilling global campaign within the next one month in its latest bid to reverse a two-year drop in tourist numbers.

Swahili Beach Resort in Diani, Ukunda. A majority of hotels in Mombasa are recording low numbers of tourists. PHOTO | FILE

Swahili Beach Resort in Diani, Ukunda. A majority of hotels in Mombasa are recording low numbers of tourists. PHOTO | FILE

The drive, mainly targeting Europe, America, Asia and Africa, will include a one-year global advertising campaign on the Cable News Network (CNN) and the hiring of a public relations firm to promote the country’s image.

“The major aim is to ensure quick recovery of the tourism sector to help improve the economy and job creation,” Tourism secretary Phyllis Kandie said in Mombasa on Thursday.

The announcement comes just one week after the UK, a key source market for Kenya’s tourism, downgraded its travel advisory against most parts of the Coast including Mombasa, Kilifi and Watamu.

The marketing campaign will coincide with August’s release of the Sh5.2 billion that the Treasury has allocated the industry for 2015/16. Ms Kandie said the aggressive marketing will start in UK, Germany, Italy and France.

Kenya will also target emerging markets of China, India and countries from the Gulf such as the United Arab Emirates.

In Africa, the drive will begin in Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa, Uganda and Tanzania in a multipronged strategy that seeks to shorten the tourism sector’s recovery time that experts say could stretch to two years.

The State also plans to launch domestic tourism marketing campaigns to encourage more Kenyans to go on holiday.

Kenya’s tourism industry has been on a decline since the Somali-based Al-Shabaab terrorists stepped up their attack on the country in 2013.

Official data indicates that the sector’s earnings fell 7.3 per cent to Sh87.1 billion in 2014, down from Sh94 billion the previous year.

Over the period, tourist numbers dropped from 1.5 million to 1.3 million.

The trend has continued this year with the number of visitors coming to Kenya falling by 25.4 per cent in the first five months to 284,313, compared to 381,278 between January and last year.

Kenya Tourist Board statistics show that the number of visitors from UK fell in the first five months by 35 per cent to 36,022 in the period.

Tourist arrivals from the US dropped 22 per cent to 30,083.

“Addressing security challenge remains our key goal to help tourism recover and boost economic growth and creation of job opportunities for our youth,” Ms Kandie said, adding that the Tourism Police Unit would be strengthened to secure tourist hotspots across the country.

Other measures to revive the sector include the rebranding of destinations and diversification of tourism products by incorporating cultures, sports and conferencing besides beach and safari.

– Business Daily