Business Daily (Nairobi)

21 April 2008

Kenya: Country Scoops Top Tourism Award

Kenya has beaten the odds to consolidate her position as a premier tourist destination in the world.

Despite the sector being hard-hit since the beginning of the year, the country is slowly gaining its footing on the international scene.

Kenya scooped the "Best Leisure Destination" award at the World Travel Fair in Shanghai, China.

This was the outcome of a combined effort in the industry to revamp the image of the country, which had been marred by the post-election violence.

The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism, Ms Rebecca Nabutola, led a delegation of Kenya Tourism Board officials on a confidence building campaign to China at the end of last month and the efforts have paid off.

Apart from participating in the World Travel Fair, the team hosted media and travel agent forums in the cities of Guangzhou, Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong.

"The award goes to testify that Kenya has a unique world acclaimed tourism product. The recognition will no doubt boost Kenya's tourism and enhance its profile as a leading tourist destination", said Ms Nabutola.

China is one of the fastest growing tourism markets for outbound tourism and Kenya is looking to bite into this market by diversifying the market portfolio.

The World Travel & Tourism Council predicts that China will become the third biggest economy in the world for travel and tourism over the next 10 years and it is the second fastest growing country on tourism demand.

This is mainly caused by the fact that the total number of Approved Destination Status (ADS) countries in June 2006, was standing at 124, as opposed to 42 in 2004.

Last year, the number of tourist from China hit 18,77, a 27 per cent increase compared to 2006.

China's outbound tourism market is expected to reach 50 million tourist by 2010.

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