Tuesday, 27th March 2018

In six months’ time, Kenya will show itself off to the world with an unprecedented week of tourism promotion, knowns as the Kenya Tourism Festival (KTF) 2018. This is in line with our strategic objective of enhancing visitor experience, as well as increasing their stay in the country. The current traveler is keen on more experiences and options for choice, therefore, the festival seeks to meet some of those aspirations for the traveler.

The official celebration of World Tourism Day 2018 will be held on 27th September, 2018 in Budapest, Hungary, under the theme: Tourism and the digital transformation.

Subsequently, we have lined up five key activities spread from 27th September to 5th October 2018, presenting a one-long week of tourism festivities in the country.

On the World Tourism Day, 27th September, 2018, the national celebrations will be held in Nairobi County and several activities have been lined up, e.g. Tourism seminars for networking and sharing the latest trends in the tourism sector, among others. Later that evening, we shall hold the Chef’s Delight™ Awards, to celebrate the country’s best chef and restaurant teams as graded by their regular customers.

From the 27th to 29th September, 2018, we shall open up to the public the Beads or Ushanga Festival, whose overall objective is to strengthen the business and production skills of pastoralist women and youth from 7 target counties, improve their competitiveness in local, regional and International markets for sustainable livelihoods. It will showcase different beading works from different communities in those counties.

During the first week of October (2nd – 4th October 2018), we organized the Africa Hotel Investment Forum (AHIF), planned by Bench Events, which is a showcase of high-growth destinations across Africa, geared to enable the continent grow its market share of global tourism through increased investments in tourism and hospitality in general.

The forum is a one-of-a-kind annual event that brings together investors, developers, owners and operators within Africa tourism subsector, as well as financiers and intermediaries such as architects, transaction advisors and senior policy makers in government from the global tourism sector.
It is expected to attract over 500 delegates and 30 exhibitors. This will bring along enormous direct and indirect economic benefits with linkages in all the sectors of the economy.

From 3rd – 5th of October 2018, we will run the Magical Kenya Travel Expo (MKTE) 2018, a regional tourism trade fair that brings on board hosted buyers from across the globe, including travel agents, tour operators, hoteliers and trade media from Kenya’s key tourism source markets such as Europe, Africa, Asia and Americas, among others.

The event provides an opportunity to our local exhibitors to benefit from the cost-effective promotional platform that will generate new business by interacting with international trade. It allows enhanced networking between the business entities here and buyers from across many countries thus cutting cost for travel from own country to another.

This 8th edition of MKTE looks at bringing higher number of delegates from Kenya’s key strategic markets.

His Excellency Hon. Uhuru Kenyatta, CHG, President and Commander-In-Chief of the Defence Forces of the Republic of Kenya will officially launch KTF on the morning of Wednesday 3rd October, 2018 at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC). In addition, H.E. Zurab Pololikashvili, UNWTO Seceretary-General will also grace the occasion. After this joint official launch of KTF, the more investment-focussed discussions of AHIF will move to the Radisson Blu Hotel at Upper Hill, Nairobi; while MKTE and Ushanga will continue at KICC.

Speaking today at the breakfast launch of KTF at the InterContinental Hotel, Nairobi, Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Tourism & Wildlife, Hon. Najib Balala, EGH said: “we are unveiling a new calendar of events in the tourism sector known as Kenya Tourism Festival (KTF), which will be an annual event that will add value to our tourism experiences.
This is in line with our strategic objective of enhancing visitor experience, as well as increasing their stay in the country. The current traveler is keen on more experiences and options for choice, therefore, the festival seeks to meet some of those aspirations for the traveler.”

During the same event, Mrs. Fatuma Hirsi Mohamed, CBS, Principal Secretary for Tourism mentioned that: “KTF is premised on the 2018 World Tourism Day celebrations and has been customized to highlight the developments in our local scenario, whereby tourism is a key economic driver that contributes substantially to the country’s GDP and job creation.”

While expounding on AHIF, Mr. Orumoi T. Jonah, Managing Director, Tourism Finance Corporation (TFC) said that the Tourism sector is experiencing high volumes of investments and expansions in hotels and other tourism products, an indicator of foreign investors’ trust in the growth of Kenya’s economy.

He said: “TFC calls on investors and stakeholders in the tourism sector to establish Joint Innovation Projects and subsequently apply for funding focused on developing innovative products and services that are beneficial for the Tourism Sector.”

Projects targeted include but not limited to: Cruise Boats in Mombasa and Kisumu, City bus, tour vehicles in Mombasa, Nairobi & Kisumu, Floating restaurants in Mombasa and Kisumu, Zip lines /any adrenaline pump activities, Amusement parks and Water fun parks.

Matthew Weihs, Managing Director, Bench Events said: “You have to take your hat off to the Cabinet Secretary for bringing these events together in this way, he has created a much more compelling reason for other destinations to come to Kenya to promote themselves, as they will be able to talk to both professional tourism buyers and international hotel investors in one trip. Also, senior-level hoteliers and tour operators will have the opportunity to sample tourist attractions in Kenya while on inspection visits.”

On MKTE, Dr. Betty Radier, CEO, Kenya Tourist Board, stated: “MKTE 2018 provides an opportunity to network and explore business opportunities at the leading travel trade expo in East Africa. We are targeting to bring on board 120 exhibitors and 160 hosted buyers. There was a 44 percent growth in exhibitor numbers with 195 exhibitors last year from 136 in 2016.”

While commenting on organization of the Chef’s Delight™ Awards, Mr. Hashim Mohamed, CEO and Principal of the Kenya Utalii College, who are planning the dinner in conjunction with Go Places, said: “this is a truly innovative and proudly Kenyan awards programme that aims to constantly drive growth and development within our culinary service sectors. This is a new concept which does not use a panel of judges, as often seen in other awards programmes, but more effectively puts the paying customer at the very centre of the judging process.”

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