11 November 2008

Kenyan tourism operators making their mark in London

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This week, representatives from 45 Kenyan tourism organisations will be attending the World Travel Market (WTM) in London, reports the Kenya Broadcasting Corporation, in an attempt to recover from a slump in tourism earlier this year and encourage the UK tourist market to holiday in Kenya again.

The UK is traditionally the largest tourist market for Kenya, according to the news source, which accounts for 20 per cent of all travellers in the East African nation.

The WTM is one of the most successful tourism exhibitions for businesses in the tourism industry, where operators can network, create deals and partnerships, and update themselves with the latest in the travel industry.

Kenyan hotels, lodges, resorts, tour operators, and the Kenya Tourism Board and Kenya Wildlife Service will each be represented at the WTM.

Last year, representatives from only 40 Kenyan organisations registered for the WTM, and the Kenya Broadcasting Corporation says the increase in representation this year is a direct response to the "need to recover from the post-election slump as well as keep pace with the changing consumer attitudes that emphasize value for money rather than price incentives."

Tourism Minister Najib Balala said the slump has forced operators to take a more proactive approach to encouraging Kenyan tourism.

"This has made it necessary for the industry to seek interaction with their niche markets in order to come up with products that meet visitor demands," said Mr Balala.

This year, Kenya's tourism industry will be exhibiting their eco-friendly approach to tourism under the theme "Kenya Eco Village" that will include two eco-friendly tents with electric lanterns for illumination that will house the meeting rooms and the entertainment area, and a running theme of driftwood to create a bucolic atmosphere, as is resonant in most of Kenya's accommodation properties.

Kenya has a relatively simple visa system for people who wish to visit the country.  Some international visitors to Kenya are not required to apply for a Kenyan visa to visit the country for up to three months.  These include nationals from African, Caribbean and a few European and Asian states. 

Nationals from the European Union and the USA need to apply for a temporary Kenyan visa to visit the country.  Although temporary visas can be bought at the port of entry to Kenya, it is recommended to apply before you travel to the country to avoid the risk of being denied a visa, as some applications can be rejected at customs.

The Worldwide Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in Kenya visa and immigration services.

Article by Jessica Bird, Worldwide Visa Bureau.

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