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The Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) has launched a domestic tourism marketing campaign aimed at boosting efforts to revitalize the tourism industry.

Consequently, the Board has enlisted the partnership of the domestic travel trade to make the campaign impactful through conversation into sales of tour packages.

Christened “you deserve a holiday” the campaign is tailored to support the sector by rallying Kenyans to travel to various destinations within the country to keep the domestic market a key anchor to the industry that has borne the adverse effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.

According to KTB, the partnership with the travel trade will see them combine resources, messaging, and marketing initiatives with an aim of sustaining long-term demand for domestic travel.

While commenting on the new campaign, KTB CEO Dr. Betty Radier said that the program was part of the strategy aimed at addressing challenges facing the tourism industry as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Through this campaign, we aim to address the challenges that the tourism industry continues to face as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The sector has faced reduced uptake of hospitality services, closure of properties, and laying off of staff. One of the key lessons that we have learned during this period is that the domestic market has great potential to sustain the industry as it has been key in keeping many businesses afloat when international travel was minimal,” said Radier.

She added that trade partners and experience owners were key to the sector since they own businesses that attract travelers and therefore the board would partner with them to push the campaign “Tourism and travel businesses have benefited from the domestic market and this is the reason we shall be working together in the campaign. We have seen that the Kenyan consumer is eager to travel, we want to show them that they can also enjoy their own country,” she added.

Through the campaign, KTB will be seeking to address several challenges that continue to hinder domestic travel, including perceptions of affordability lack of planning culture, and lack of awareness on the available products and experiences available for the domestic travelers

Dr. Radier further urged players in the tourism sector to make a paradigm shift and develop packages and offers that fit into the new holiday calendar to enable Kenyans to make appropriate decisions and plans for vacations.

The tourism sector has been among the worst-hit sectors by the pandemic due to the closure of borders and cancellation of flights, as economies globally moved to control the pandemic. Kenya’s sector has heavily depended on forward bookings from international travelers pre-pandemic period, with the clientele taking more than half of the accommodation services. This placed most of the hotels, camps, and tour companies at mercy of local tourists, especially the growing middle-class with disposable incomes.

The industry has however been on a recovery path with the sector earnings jumping 65 percent to Sh146.51 billion last year up from Sh88.56 billion in 2020, according to the Kenya Tourism Sector Performance Report of 2021.

The report further noted that the domestic bed nights grew by 101.3 percent between 2020 and 2021 while international bed nights grew by 0.05 percent, an indication that the hospitality sector in Kenya has largely been supported by domestic travel in 2021.

The government attributed this performance to high demand from domestic tourists that took over hotels, coastal beaches, and parks.

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