Kenya has always been a hub for tourists from various parts of the globe. From the lush highlands, to sandy beaches along the coast to the rough terrains of the savannah, Kenya’s diverse physical features have always made foreign tourists coming back for more. But what about our own tourists? Most Kenyans have not yet had the opportunity to explore the different magical tourist destinations that our country has to offer. The main reason to this is lack of knowledge about most of this destinations.
To help promote local tourism, Jovago.com, leading Africa hotel booking website, has just launched a campaign encouraging Kenyans to share photos from across the country and hashtag them with #KenyaYetu.
The aim of this campaign is to not only encourage people to share their travel experiences to inspire others and change their perception on the expenses of travel, but also for Kenyans to be able to enjoy our country first hand and be proud of the diversity that we have to offer.
Estelle Verdier-Watine, the Managing Director of Jovago in East Africa, during What’s Next discussion panel held in Sankara in Nairobi said, “Kenya is a beautiful country. Kenyans should be proud of it and be its ambassadors. Don’t wait for other people to start – be the first one.
Domestic tourism is very important in Kenya. One of the biggest reasons to help promote domestic tourism is because it cushions the tourism sector during low periods of international arrivals or “off seasons.” These are times like spring in foreign countries where the population of foreign tourists significantly goes down. With the promotion of domestic tourism, the travel and hospitality sector continues to increase even without the presence of foreign tourists.
Other reasons to promote domestic tourism are:
1. To help expand the tourism sector by increasing investments that are brought in by domestic tourism. The more people get to visit national parks and game reserves, the more the tourism gets to grow. With tourism being the second biggest income generator in the county’s GDP after agriculture, we should strive to help the tourism sector grow even more to help sustain the economy.
2. To help increase the positive publicity around tourism in Kenya. Tourism is one of the worst hit sectors when it comes to bad publicity and competition. When we were faced by a series of terror attacks in the last few years, the percentage of tourists who come to Kenya significantly dropped forcing some hotels to even shut down along the coast. With an increase in domestic tourism, we not only help to sustain the tourism sector, but also get to uphold if not greatly increase the public image of our country.
3. To create a network of shareholders who can contribute to its growth. With the entry of more shareholders, we not only increase the need for more people to invest in the tourism sector but can also create job opportunities and help create forums and workshops to create a constant flow of information on how to build the tourism sector.
4. To increase the need for more people to visit national game parks and reserves. There are a million and one reasons to explore Kenya. We have thousands of tourists coming back each and every year, some like Richard Branson – billionaire, business mogul and an adventure freak have also expressed their re-affirming love for our great country. If these people can travel thousands of miles, why shouldn’t you make the effort of driving up to your nearest game park to get a taste of what they keep coming back for?
We even have the power of technology in our hands to get to access some of these destinations. Social media has played a great role in boosting the tourism sector. Justyna Sniezek, Head of Social Media at Jovago.com said, “Technology goes forward and so do social media. How many people are using their personal profiles to show Kenya to the world and, most importantly, to fellow Kenyans? We all can see the same destinations being promoted by tour companies all over again – Mombasa, Nairobi and national parks. What about the rest of the country? What about us, normal people, speaking up?”
Kenya has so much to offer, and we as citizens of this great nation should fully take advantage of this opportunity while we can.