Even as an announcement came from South African Airlines that it is offering a rare direct chance for Kenyans going to New York starting this month, news have emerged that the county is setting up its Nairobi tourism depot to step up marketing efforts.
Speaking at the launch, Mr Phumi Ndlomo of the SA tourism wing for the continent and the Middle East said they foresaw the need to tap into “the large regional market,’’ denoting the East African economic bloc.
This news comes after a keen interest from Ugandans, Tanzanians and other regional powerhouses of going to the land down south to enjoy its economic wonders as the richest country in Sub-Saharan Africa.
It is not surprising to hear this plan hatching as Kenya has already set up a base in Pretoria, now going strong in its sixth month. Indeed, the Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) has managed, during the interim, to project the number of visitors from South Africa to the country by some 3200 heads over the half year that the office has been in existence.
Even as this news is heart-warming to the business community, it is notable how Pretoria still has the upper hand in the percentages of Kenyans who tour the country compared to the reverse situation.
- 33,700 local tourists have visited SA in the last couple of months of 2012.
- 19,200 South Africans have come to Kenya over the same period.
The above statistics show, as Ndlomo points out, that setting up an office will even pronounce this growth, since “the current (decade-long) trend will continue.” The key interest for East Africans going to this land of fortunes is because of cultural attractions like the Cape Town music and product sampling sprees.
The next tack of the South African marketing program is to encapsulate the entire East African Community bloc, not only Kenya.