The fifth edition of the annual Magical Kenya Travel Expo, MKTE, held recently in unique style afforded the country the opportunity to market its destinations to international tourists, visitors and buyers alike.
This is just as Kenya Tourism Board, KTB, is re- strategising with the primary objective of attracting more tourists to the country and also boost its tourism sector.
The three-day tourism show held at Leisure Lodge Beach Resort, Diani in Kwale County, the county that was recently voted ‘Africa’s Leading Beach Destination’ at the World Travel Awards, attracted a record 174 International buyers from over 35 countries.
In her opening remark, Kenya’s Tourism Cabinet Secretary, Phyllis Kandie disclosed that the main aim of hosting the event in Diani was to assure everyone that Kenya coast was indeed safe and open for business.
The managing director, Kenya Tourism Board, Muriithi Ndegwa at the opening ceremony, said the huge number of exhibitors and guests is a sign that that Kenya is a top tourist destination with the presence of travel agents, tour operators, hoteliers and trade media from key tourism source markets from continents like Europe, Africa, Asia and America.
“Prior to the official opening ceremony of MKTE with the theme, ‘Sustainable Tourism – Keeping the Magic Alive’, a seminar was successfully held with topics on subjects such as PR in times of crisis, social media marketing, transforming the tourism business and the changing trends in travel with specific focus on Generation Y”, Ndegwa said.
Speaking further, Ndegwa said the expo is one of the major events that KTB has identified as a platform to reinforce Kenya’s resilience and zeal to market her tourism products.
The Governor of Kwale Country, Salim Mvurya, in his welcome address said the National and the County recognise the tourism sector’s potential in the territory and hope that the hosted buyers and visitors will explore the beauty of the county and discover some of its many treasures during the three-day global travel exhibition.
The Coast executive officer, Kenya Association of Hotel-keepers and Caterers, KAHC, Sam Ikwaye, said the expo will help revive the tourism in the region as international tour operators and travel agents will witness for themselves that the resorts are safe and healthy.
Some of the exhibitors and trade visitors at the travel expo, who shared their views on Magical Kenya Travel Expo, lauded KTB for the great success of the expo outside Nairobi for the first time.
The group sales manager, Jacaranda Hotels, Liz Tapawa, said “Jacaranda is exhibiting at the expo as a way to showcase that Jacaranda Hotel is a Kenyan landmark hotel group comprising of three hotels, Jacaranda Nairobi Hotel, Jacaranda Indian Ocean Beach Hotel, Diani, and Jacaranda Lake Elementaita Lodge.”
Sales and marketing manager, Tune Hotels Nairobi, Ambrose Koskei, disclosed that the 280 room’s hotel will be opening in March 2016 on Rhapta Road in the vibrant suburb of Nairobi Westlands.
“The high scrapper hotel will suit the local landscape and travellers’ requirements and feature a serviced restaurants and a rooftop bar that will offer hotel guests great convenience,” Koskei said.
Similarly, the reservations manager, Baobab Beach Resort & Spa, Charles Bett stated that, “Baobab is attending the expo to consolidate his strategic marketing of their three brands; The Baobab, The Maridadi and Kole Kole built on 80 acres of Tropicana gardens, overlooking Africa’s best Diani Beach of the Indian Ocean”.
The guests who lodge in any of the three brands will have the opportunity to feel the hospitality impacts of the other two brands, Charles hinted.
A hosted buyer from Canada, Jim Cunningham, director, TIERONE Travel lauded the initiatives of the Kenya Tourism Board in organising the fifth edition of the Magical Kenya Travel Expo in the coast. He said, “It is a great way to see the beauty of the country and her tourism potentials”.
Another hosted buyer from Nigeria, Uche Ogbuka, Manager – Packages Department, WAKANOW.COM disclosed that the partnership of Wakanow, an online tour operator with Kenya Tourism Board, with his presence at the expo will surely be of great value to him to further market Kenya and give Kenya access to the source markets in Nigeria”.
The Magical Kenya Travel Expo attracted over 170 exhibitors, among them are; Medina Palms, Lufthansa German Airlines, HillPark Hotels, Rainbow Ruiri Resort, Amani Tiwi Beach Resort, JOVAGO, Serena Hotels, Turkish Airlines, Taita Taveta County, Airkenya Express, African Travel and Tourism Association, ATTA, China Southern Airlines, Crowne Plaza Hotel, Kwale County, Sarova Hotels, South African Tourism, Tanzania Tourism Board, Seychelles Tourism Board and Zimbabwe Tourism Board.

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