Kenya urges tourism sector to focus on domestic travelers to revive industry

2021-09-27 21:55:40 GMT2021-09-28 05:55:40(Beijing Time) Xinhua English

NAIROBI, Sept. 27 (Xinhua) -- Kenya on Monday urged tourism stakeholders to focus on domestic visitors so as to revive the industry that has been affected by international travel restrictions put in place to curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Safina Kwekwe, principal secretary of the State Department of Tourism said that local tourists remain a viable option to revive tourism businesses in the wake of the pandemic that has disrupted businesses all over the world.

"Two years since the disease was declared a global pandemic, the country's tourism industry managed to remain afloat by harnessing the power of domestic travel," Kwekwe said in a statement issued from Mombasa during celebrations to mark this year's World Tourism Day running under the theme "Tourism for inclusive growth".

She said that the country has a huge potential for a rebound given that domestic tourism and international arrivals are likely to bounce through the implementation of appropriate policies.

"The economic crisis caused by the pandemic has exposed our country's dependence on foreign travelers," she said, adding that domestic tourism has been overlooked for a long time.

The government official called on tourism players to start offering innovative domestic tourism packages to entice Kenyans to travel and explore their country.

Kwekwe added that the ban on international flights has delivered a big hit to the tourism industry that has been the lifeblood of the local economies of the coastal counties of Mombasa, Kwale, Kilifi and Lamu.

"During the COVID-19 period, we also realized that we need aggressive marketing in potential markets in Eastern Europe and the Middle East because they account for large inbound tourist arrivals since the easing of COVID-19 international travel restrictions last year," she said.

Kwekwe said that the tourism industry contributes significantly to the country's economic growth and that domestic tourism saved the fragile sector from total collapse. Enditem