(eTN) – Information obtained through leading tourism sources in Nairobi speaks of a substantial increase in funding for tourism marketing up to 1.4 billion Kenya shillings for the next financial year, news which was greeted with delight by the industry. While 2010 ended as the “best year ever,” in terms of arrival and revenues for the Kenyan tourism industry, this year is projected to set a new record again as presently the sector is up by about 15 percent compared with last year.
However, this is a result of intense and focused marketing abroad where existing markets get as much attention as new and emerging markets, in particular in the Far and South East, the former Soviet bloc, and South America.
New and additional air connections have aided Kenya’s tourism boom, and the added funding now put into the pipeline will allow the Kenya Tourist Board and the private sector to become visible across the world in all key tourism trade shows, conduct road shows in key market places, and create new circuits to open up the entire country for, in particular, repeat visitors.
The envisaged introduction, final word is still pending as to the when and how, of the common visitor visa for the East African Community is also thought to greatly assist Kenya to benefit for quick add-on visits by tourists already in the region and hitherto put off by the need to pay extra visa fees, which for a family of four can easily run into US$200, money which ought to be spent on the ground where the cash percolates into the economy and the pockets of wananchi and not an obscure general government fund.
Rwanda is also expected to pour more resources into their crucial tourism industry, and calls in Tanzania ahead of the budget reading echoed the same sentiments, as they did in Uganda, that the more one puts into tourism marketing the more one gets out of it exponentially and in great multiples through new investments, new jobs, and far greater foreign exchange earnings crucial to the stability of local currencies and the balance of payments accounts. On June 8, across the region, just how much and how high tourism ranks in the respective countries will be revealed.