The battered leisure and hospitality industry is rolling out a campaign it hopes will earn the players enough revenue to keep them afloat as the country awaits the return of high-net worth foreign tourists.
The campaign, which was officially launched last night, offers a lifeline to an industry that was most affected by the outbreak of violence in the wake of a disputed outcome of last December’s General Election.
Dubbed Tembea Kenya, this campaign not only aims at encouraging Kenyans to visit and know their own country as part of leisure activity but should also help restore pride in the homeland among a citizenry that has only pulled back from the brink.
It also offers the industry that has in the past five years grown to become the leading foreign exchange earner an opportunity to build a strong foundation on domestic travel – a model that has been used by the more successful operators of the tourism business such as Italy, Germany and even closer to home in South Africa.
It is in this light that the Business Daily is happy to partner with the Domestic Tourism Council of Kenya to encourage citizens to have a taste of their country’s popular tourism products that have remained the preserve of foreign visitors leaving the industry exposed to their frequent flight.
With statistics showing that domestic tourism has steadily expanded to account for 27 per cent of the total market in the past three years, this is a market with a huge growth potential.
This also means that local travellers accounted for Sh17.6 billion of the total Sh65.4 billion that the economy earned from tourism last year.
The Tembea Kenya campaign comes at the end of the Holiday 2008 Expo held at Nairobi’s Sarit Centre last week with a similar objective of promoting domestic tourism.
From the rich mix of wild game at world famous locations such as the Maasai Mara to the breezy and sandy beaches at the coast, Kenya’s range of travel and leisure products is wide and unparalleled in the region.
While foreign visitors play an important role in supporting and growing this industry by visiting these destinations, they can only look at the heritage through exotic eyes – often lacking the pathological thrill that comes with the feeling of inner attachment to the environment.
This leaves us with the reality the while our leisure and recreations sites remain open to visitors from any part of the world, we are the only ones who by the virtue of full understanding and relationship with the environment can derive from it what has been accepted as the ultimate goal of living – happiness.
So this Easter, let’s Tembea Kenya