Magical Kenya got a massive boost to its tourism industry from US President Barrack Obama, when prior to his departure for Ethiopia he expressed his intent to return to the country after leaving the presidency.
In a radio interview with one of Kenya’s most popular stations, Capital FM, he professed to Olive Burrows that he was particularly keen to visit Lamu and the Masai Mara, something the tight timeframe of the just-ended visit did not allow.
“Lamu is a place I would be interested in visiting again; it is top on my list. I went there with Michelle after our engagement, and I remember taking the dhow to fish, and cooking the fish right at the beach – it was remarkable,” President Obama responded when asked which places he would like to see.
Lamu, which has seen a downturn in tourism fortunes over the past years, will no doubt be delighted to have received a presidential endorsement of this kind, and the organizers of the many festivals for which Lamu has gained recognition will no doubt use Obama’s sentiments to push even harder when promoting travel to one of Kenya’s most ancient towns.
He no doubt remembered his state visit two years ago to Tanzania when he added a climb up to the “Roof of Africa,” aka Kilimanjaro, and Ugandans will also celebrate his mention that a visit to the “Pearl of Africa” was on his bucket list.
President Obama dancing to Sauti Sol’s Sura Yako at State House in Nairobi
Attention is now turning to the November visit of Pope Francis, which Kenyan tourism marketers hope will add a similar momentum to the efforts of the Kenya Tourism Board and the private sector to promote visits to the country.
Numerous unsolicited emails confirmed earlier sentiments voiced here that with the visit of the US President successfully concluded, and without a single incident, that it was now time to comprehensively review anti-travel advisories for ordinary tourist visitors. Kenya’s holiday combination of beach and safari, as well as culture and sports such as golf, offers excellent value for money, and as tourism is progressively getting back into gear, special deals are making the decision to visit Kenya even easier.
A common tourist visa, available at a cost of just US$100, allows for added visits to Uganda and Rwanda, adding yet more attractions to a trip to East Africa. With the annual migration of the wildebeest in full swing from the Serengeti to the Masai Mara, the new fishing season already yielding astonishing results off Malindi, and the country’s golf courses looking green and fresh after the rainy season, Kenya has a lot going for her as a destination.
The Africa Travel Association’s upcoming congress in Nairobi and the Magical Kenya Travel Expo, this year taking place in Diani, are expected to add further boosts to return Kenya into the top tier of African destinations.