Kenya plans to promote tourism amid COVID-19 pandemic

Najib Balala (Ministry of Tourism and Wildlife Cabinet Secretary)

Cabinet Secretary for Tourism and Wildlife, Najib Balala, has said that Kenya is seeking to portray itself as a luxury destination, as part of a strategy to resuscitate and expand the tourism sector.

According to Balala, the lack of international tourists, along with travel limitations imposed by the COVID-19 epidemic, has resulted in diminished worldwide travel and the emergence of niche tourism.

In a statement made in Nairobi, Balala stated, “The government has now set its sights on luxury travelers as it strives to continue the tourism sector’s recovery route through targeted marketing efforts in multiple areas.”

He addressed to passengers aboard the inaugural Roar Africa and Emirates Executive Private Jet Safari from the Maasai Mara game reserve (a World-Class Conservation Safari).

Kenya attracted 305,635 tourists in the first six months of 2021, according to government data, compared to 2.05 million international visits in 2019.

Balala stated that the region is proving to be appealing to luxury travelers, particularly given Kenya’s unique travel prospects and new advancements.

“Over the years we have been working towards profiling Kenya to niche clients who have specific preferences and needs and that’s the reason we have been diversifying our products to suit each market segment,” said Balala.

He observed that Kenya had iconic tourism products such as the wildebeest migration at the Maasai Mara that suited the needs of high-net-worth travellers who wanted value for their money.

“Our goal is to build on the growing luxury tourism sector as we work towards expanding into different market segments in the short and long term,” Balala said.

He added that luxury travel is growing to become a key segment in the tourism industry with several key developments currently ongoing.

According to him, the new developments were expected to boost the sector such as the Chinese built Lamu Port, which is touted to be a game changer through cruise tourism. 

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