Kenya’s Tourism and Wildlife Cabinet Secretary (CS), Dr. Alfred Mutua, says tourist arrival numbers for the entire East African region remain dismal and is calling for a radical shift in how the region is marketed.
“In the heart of Africa, where wildlife roams free and landscapes enchant, we find ourselves facing a challenge, a challenge of declining tourist arrival numbers. Our tourism numbers are dismal, and it’s time for us to reimagine our approach.” Said the CS.
The CS painted a vivid picture of the untapped potential that East Africa held. He emphasized the need for collaborative efforts among regional countries to rethink their tourism marketing strategies, urging them to showcase the diverse offerings that make this part of the continent truly magical.
The CS spoke in Nairobi during the official opening of the 3rd East African Regional Tourism Expo (EARTE) and the Magical Kenya Travel Expo (MKTE), at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre, today.
“Our wildlife, our landscapes, and our vibrant cultures are our treasures, but they remain hidden to the world. It’s time for us to unveil the wonders of East Africa to the global stage,” he proclaimed, challenging each nation to play its part in this ambitious endeavor.
Dr. Mutua didn’t just stop at a call for better marketing; he delved into the importance of enhancing services and expanding offerings to meet the evolving expectations of modern travelers. He envisioned a region where tourists not only marveled at the iconic savannahs and majestic animals but also experienced the warmth of local communities and the richness of cultural exchanges.
“We must go beyond the conventional and embrace innovation. Let’s offer immersive experiences that linger in the hearts of our visitor,” he said.
Dr. Mutua said he will spearhead an initiative that will bring together all regional ministers for tourism to work on a joint marketing strategy. The CS also wants players in the tourism sector to craft a circuit that covers the entire region.
During the event the CS also unveiled a logo for marketing East Africa as a tourist destination under the catch phrase, “Visit East Africa, feel the vibe.”
The CS was accompanied by his Cabinet colleague in charge of East African affairs, Hon. Peninah Malonza, and the Principal Secretary State Department for Tourism, John Ololtuaa.
Among those attending the event was Minister for Wildlife, Conservation and Tourism of South Sudan, Lt. Gen. Zakaria Hassan; Uganda’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister EAC affairs- Rebeccah Kadaga; Martin Bahinduka Mugarra -Minister of State for Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities-of Uganda; Amos Fish Mahlalela, Deputy Minister of Tourism of South Africa, among many others.