Kenya To Skip World Travel Market in London

The Kenya Tourist Board has announced that it will be skipping this year’s World Travel Market in London in line with its new marketing strategy.

This will be the first time that Kenya will be missing from the premium Tourism travel show, a move that seems to have drawn the ire of stakeholders in the industry.

“Following the adoption of KTB’s new marketing strategy and supported by an evaluation carried out to ascertain the Return on Investment from World Travel Markets (WTM) – London,  the Board has made a decision to pull out of this exhibition. The purpose of this communication is to notify the industry that the Kenya Tourism Board will not be participating at WTM from 2018,” reads a letter by KTB CEO Dr Betty Radier.

Instead, KTB wants to heavily focus on the digital space in line with KTB’s new Marketing Strategy that was recently unveiled and discussed at a National Stakeholders Forum.

Some industry stakeholders have however criticized the move terming it as unwise and one that needs rethinking. “The fact that we join the rest of the world every year (at the event) was sending a clear message that Kenya despite all the political issues was still in business,” says Mohammed Hersi, Chairman of the Kenya Tourism Federation. “Our competition must be rubbing their hands in glee as they prepare to explain our absence to suit them. “Attending ITB WTM is not about chance business. It is not B2C, it is a B2B opportunity.

“Digital shift is meant to complement the physical presence at fairs and not to replace them. Sadly Kenya will join the likes of Somalia and Afghanistan who have no reason to attend such event. Even war-torn Iraq and Syria attend these fairs to remind the world of their existence and fight for a pie of global tourism,” he said

Keen to take advantage of KTB’s offer to support the industry through branding of the exhibits where Kenyan trade of up to six (6) or more companies are exhibiting together in one stand, Travel Industry Associations are encouraging their members to pull together in order to continue participating at the London show. Circulars send by the Kenya Association of Travel Agents (KATA) and the Kenya Association of Hotel Keepers and Caterers (KAHC) to their respective members are calling for joint efforts by the private sector players under the KTF umbrella to bridge the gap likely to be left by the withdrawal of KTB.

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