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[July 20, 2014]
Agency woos domestic tourists at local events in new drive [Business Daily (Kenya)]
(Business Daily (Kenya) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) The tourism marketing agency has launched a series of events to promote domestic travel in a bid to boost the industry that has lost many foreign visitors over security concerns.
The Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) said the move is one of several strategies to encourage domestic tourists to visit local facilities and attractions after the number of foreign holidaymakers plummeted following a decision by the United States and United Kingdom to warn their citizens against travelling to Nairobi and Mombasa over security concerns.
READ: Kenya goes on charm offensive to win back Western tourists Managing director Muriithi Ndegwa said that they plan to use local events to showcase what Kenya has to offer. "We plan to work with county governments in marketing and promoting key events to domestic and international recognition," said Mr Ndegwa.
About 900 tourists are said to have cancelled their bookings with popular resorts or cut short their holidays in Kenya due to the travel advisories. Kenya receives about 1.6 million foreign visitors annually.
In May, the government revoked a circular from the Treasury restricting civil servants from holding conferences and other meetings in hotels. In the 2014/15 budget, Treasury secretary Henry Rotich removed taxes on travel allowances given by companies to their employees visiting local tourist attractions.
In an ambitious effort to showcase Kenya as the preferred tourism destination, the KTB is leveraging on events hosted in the country as platform to boost tourist numbers. This year's Diani Beach Touch Rugby organised amid insecurity at the Coast two weeks ago attracted representatives from the UK, France and Tanzania.
READ: Tourism agency hires UK firm in drive to rebuild Kenya's image Mr Ndegwa said that international events such as the Lake Turkana Cultural Festival in June, Maralal Camel Derby in August and Lamu Cultural Festival in November last year have raised the country's profile by attracting international and domestic participants.
At the weekend, the agency partnered with the Jockey Club of Kenya to host the Magical Kenya Race Day to promote tourism. The event gave industry players, including tour operators, hoteliers, camp and lodge owners a chance to interact with horse racing goers who had an opportunity to shop for different holiday options.
"We shall continue to support such strategic events in order to raise the contribution of domestic tourism as well raise the brand equity of Kenya as a tourism destination" he said.
Magical Kenya Race Day is a fun day for the whole family. It incorporates other activities including dog show, live band entertainment and children's games.
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