Kenya launches initiatives to attract tourists from West Africa

A giraffe eats a food pellet from the mouth of a foreign visitor at the Giraffe Centre, in the Karen neighborhood of Nairobi, Kenya Monday, Sept. 30, 2013.
A giraffe eats a food pellet from the mouth of a foreign visitor at the Giraffe Centre

The Kenya Tourism Board (KTB), the nation’s premier marketing agency, has unveiled an ambitious plan to elevate tourist influx from West Africa by promoting both business and leisure travel.

The driving force behind this initiative is the “West Africa Roadshow” program, as revealed by the Acting CEO of KTB, John Chirchir, during a pivotal meeting heralding the commencement of a series of roadshows in Nigeria and Ghana.

Chirchir underscored the significance of the West African market in the overall strategy to allure tourists, citing Nigeria (6%) and Ghana (48%) as the standout performers among Kenya’s potential markets in terms of tourist arrivals in 2023.

With a bold vision in mind, KTB and Kenya Airways are spearheading a coalition of over 15 travel trade companies for in-market activations set to take place from Feb. 5-9 across various cities in Nigeria and Ghana.

The initiative is poised to engage more than 400 trade partners, demonstrating the commitment to fostering connections and expanding opportunities within the West African tourism landscape.

Chirchir expressed unwavering optimism, anticipating that Kenyan traders would actively participate in business meetings and forge direct interactions with potential travelers from key cities such as Lagos, Abuja, and Accra.

This strategic move is not only poised to enhance tourism ties but also to establish Kenya as a premier destination for both leisure and business pursuits among West African travelers.

He noted that regular flights between African cities, ease in travel restrictions, and the Electronic Travel Authorization will make it easier for visitors to access Kenya.

Speaking passionately during the meeting, Consaga Khisa, chairperson of the West Africa Roadshow, underscored the rationale behind prioritising domestic travel and the importance of partnerships between KTB and the private sector in improving tourism arrivals in Kenya.

“The roadshows will provide an opportunity for the Kenyan trade to engage with about 400 West African travel agents and tour operators, showcase products and service offerings, and forge new partnerships to drive growth,” Khisa said.

Reports from Kenya’s Tourism Research Institute showed that arrivals from Africa accounted for 651,152 visitors, or 40.7 per cent, of total arrivals from January to October 2023.

In the competitive landscape of African tourism, neighbouring countries like Rwanda, Benin, The Gambia, and Seychelles have eliminated all visa requirements for African travellers to attract visitors.