Kenya is set to make a major change in the way it markets its tourism products, by shifting from the traditional television and print media to digital social media, industry players said on Tuesday.
Players said the use of social media marketing is overdue and has been reinforced by how COVID-19 has disrupted the tourism industry in the last three months.
Betty Radier, chief executive officer of the Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) said the industry is taking advantage of social media to prepare for easing COVID-19 restrictions to enable visitors to identify their destinations early enough.
“We are going ahead of the curve to be able to provide tourism and conservation content that will flow business to us even after COVID-19 restrictions are lifted,” she said in a webinar hosted in Nairobi.
“With social media, all people working in the tourism and conservation industry have an opportunity to market the industry. We have advised the industry to go for live content rather than static,” she said.
Damian Cook, managing director of E-Tourism Frontiers, a global initiative to develop online tourism, said a key win is in showing live content about the experiences of being in a certain destination, including activities that are possible there and the human interest stories related to those destinations.
He said across Africa, filmmakers and wildlife photographers are also joining the movement to create content for future use and films for distribution to the world.
This is expected to help increase online content about Africa tourism destinations and help countries save on their marketing budgets.
Key showcases that are being filmed include game drives, cultural activities, workouts, rock climbing, cooking among others just to show people what they can do if they get to a country like Kenya.
Michael Njeru, tour operator, said there are companies involved in marketing destinations and various activities on social media platforms and this is raising interest even locally, pulling in more visitors to try what they are seeing online.
“The digital marketing expense is lower than other traditional means of marketing and therefore this offers a fantastic opportunity for the industry to scale up its opportunities,” said Njeru.
Tourism is Kenya’s second-largest foreign exchange earner after Diaspora remittances, grossing over 164 billion shillings in 2019 (about 1.54 billion U.S. dollars), drawing in 2.05 million visitors.