Tourism

Kenya to cut travel marketing cash in Japan and Italy

Economy

Kenya to cut travel marketing cash in Japan and Italy


Tourism CS Najib Balala. PHOTO FILE | NMG

Kenya plans to cut marketing spending in three traditional tourism markets to free up advertising budget for five new markets such as China, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Saudi Arabia and South Korea, which it says have high potential for visitors and income.

The Ministry of Tourism and Wildlife said it would cut campaigns in markets including Italy, Switzerland and Japan due to lower share from previous efforts and expected slower annual growth equivalent to one percent.

Spending will now target five markets: China, the UAE and Saudi Arabia.

“Kenya could start by launching targeted marketing campaigns for the 1-2 countries with the most potential in each category: the US, the UK, China, the UAE and Saudi Arabia,” the ministry’s new policy document says.

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“Given limited marketing spending, prioritizing marketing budgets is critical to successful outreach. Other source markets should continue to be involved, but marketing attention should be focused on priority countries.”

In the financial year beginning in June, 1.06 billion shillings were allocated to tourism promotion and marketing activities, an increase of 18.3 per cent compared to 897.89 million shillings in the supplementary budget for the current financial year.

But it won’t cut budgets for other traditional markets like the US and UK, which still have high potential in terms of numbers and revenues to $310,000 and $750 million (87.7 billion shillings) by 2030.

Kenya has promotional initiatives including road shows and sponsorship of guest travel agents, foreign media advertising to attract visitors to vacations and meetings, incentive conferences and events.

Other investments include open-air route regulation and policy and increased visa openness.

The markets are anchored due to the existing relationship with Kenya which makes it easier to enter and potentially attract more visitors compared to the East Africa region. Other markets that Kenya will target in the medium term include Canada, Germany, France, India and South Korea.

The ministry could also cut back on campaigns in the regional market, citing higher traveler costs for flight connections and visas, resulting in insufficient returns.

Tourism has been among the sectors hardest hit by the pandemic after border closures and flight cancellations as economies around the world shifted to fight the pandemic.

This was heavily dependent on advance bookings from international travelers in the pre-pandemic period, with the clientele taking over half of the accommodation services.

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It will now also be mainly focused on the domestic market, which has supported the industry during the pandemic with large visits to waterfront hotels, parks and sporting events.

The potential of the domestic market is projected at 12…

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