Kenya’s tourism players pledge new business models to withstand shocks

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Major players in Kenya’s travel and tourism sector have pledged to reorganise their business models, and embed inclusivity, sustainability and resilience in the face of external shocks like the pandemic and global economic downturn.

Speaking at a forum in Nairobi, the Kenyan capital, the tourism sector players, including tour operators, on Friday said that they were committed to redesigning their business models and catering to the sophisticated demands of a modern traveller.

Betty Radier, the Chief Executive Officer of the Kenya Tourism Board, said that investors in the hospitality industry should adjust their mode of operation to ensure that clients, including local and foreign tourists, received quality service.

According to Radier, tour operators, in particular, are now expected to provide unique services to the modern traveller, besides factoring in other critical issues like safety and diversity of products, Xinhua news agency reported.

“The new traveller is discerning and very demanding especially because they can see everything online,” she added.

Radier said tour operators need to move from just being coordinators to now also selling opportunities and experiences to attract the interest of the traveller. Investment in human resources will be important to achieve this goal.

She added that embedding sustainable principles in the hospitality sector will hasten its post-pandemic recovery, and generate revenue for the exchequer and new jobs.

Fred Kaigua, the Chief Executive Officer of the Kenya Association of Tour Operators, said the sub-sector had recorded a 49 per cent improvement thanks to the easing of Covid-19 restrictions and fiscal incentives from the government.

Kaigua added that diversification of tourism products and source markets had benefitted local tour operators, amid a spike in travellers keen to enjoy new experiences during their stay in Kenya.

Fred Odek, the Chairman of the Kenya Tourism Federation, said that sector players were designing new products to attract visitors and sustain their businesses in the face of external shocks.

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