Exclusive interview: Hon. Najib Balala, EGH, Cabinet Secretary for Tourism & Wildlife, Kenya
Hon. Najib Balala, EGH, Cabinet Secretary for Tourism & Wildlife, Kenya says improved security has been a driver for the increased number of tourists to the country. We asked how Kenya’s infrastructure is developing.
The Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) has enabled movement of tourists between the key cities of Mombasa and Nairobi, an impetus to tourism business. The expansion of JKIA has made it possible for the launch of a Nairobi to New York direct flight with increasing passenger traffic.
Kenya will benefit from a melting pot of tourism business transactions
The expansion of Malindi airport and Manda Airport in Lamu are geared to attracting more passengers through heavier aircraft. The development of new hotels, including international brands has increased confidence among investors. The Diani Airport will also be expanded to accommodate more and bigger flights into Diani, the leading beach in Africa.
What are the key travel trends in 2019?
Kenya is focusing on the following priorities in 2019 as envisioned in tourism transformative agenda: product diversification to cater for different needs of the traveller, as well as enhancing the customer experience. Combination of both business and leisure to attract businesspeople into the country. Visitors are keener now on experiences and we are looking into immersing visitors into some of these, like culture and adventure
What are your key source markets for tourists into Kenya?
Europe is a key source market, which has continued to record growth year-on-year. The United States is the leading market. Kenya is also focusing on emerging markets as well as Africa, India and China.
What are your plans for ITB Berlin?
Kenya will showcase the destination through more than 40 travel trade members that will be exhibiting at ITB Berlin. The message of resilience and business continuity is what the travel trade will show to the world. ITB Berlin is a platform for business deals with the international buyers, an opportunity to create awareness of the destination among the travellers as well as an opportunity to project Kenya as a resilient destination ready for business. Kenya will benefit from a melting pot of tourism business transactions. The exhibition gives Kenya an opportunity to showcase tourism products that give the country a competitive edge in the region, the live interaction with cultural ambassadors at the Kenya stand is always enriching for visitors.
Hall 21a / Stand 122