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Kenya plans to tap adventure to grow tourism       

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kenya’s tourism marketing body has called on industry stakeholders to identify existing adventure and travel experiences to complement the beach product known for the coastal region.

Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) CEO Betty Radier said there are many unexplored visitor experiences in the Kenya coast that if tapped would enhance visitor experience as well as lengthen their stay in the destination.

“We need to enrich our visitor experience so that besides the beach and water sport activities, we also showcase other attractions in the selected sub destinations and push the adventure segment of travel that is increasingly attracting interest among the millennials,” she said in a statement released in Nairobi on Sunday evening.

Radier was speaking during the unveiling of the first mountain bike race dubbed Arabuko Sokoke forest challenge with Tembea Kenya in Kilifi County.

The KTB partnered with the Ngong Hills Individual Time Trial (NHITT) for the event that profiled the forest as an additional visitor experience sport besides the beach product.

She said that the sporting event was new and exciting, especially for young and middle aged populations who are increasingly seeking out an active lifestyle, for leisure as well as fitness and networking.

“Kenya is a perfect destination for biking safaris due to the favorable weather throughout the year. The outlying touristic attractions along the competition routes attract the audience which follows the riders,” Radier said.

Arabuko Sokoke forest is the largest and most intact coastal forest in East Africa, with 20 percent of Kenya’s bird species, 30 percent of butterfly species and at least 24 rare and endemic bird, mammal and butterfly species. The race is also part of the campaigns geared towards conservation.

Renowned Kenyan cyclist David Kinja led the cyclists both local and international in the 64 km mountain challenge in the forest. The event will be replicated in Machakos and the Great Rift Valley in June and July respectively.

The partnership comes a week after a one-month long KTB’s training of domestic travel agents across the county to equip them with other first-hand experiences of what Kenya has to offer to the domestic segment.

Radier pointed out that domestic tourism segment has continued to cushion the sector during low seasons and its performance is on the increase with the current performance showing a 15.9 percent growth.

Domestic tourism last year recorded a total of 4.05 million bed nights being taken up by Kenyans compared to 3.5 million in 2016, according to KTB.



African countries call for cooperation to improve tourism sector

DURBAN South Africa (Xinhua) -- African tourism ministers on Monday called for more cooperation and improved environment for the sector to grow and benefit the continent.

The eight African tourism ministers are in South Africa to attend the Africa Travel Indaba which will kick off on Tuesday in Durban.

The event will be attended by over 6 000 representatives from 80 countries. The event is for the continent to showcase the tourism services and products they can offer.

South Africa’s deputy tourism minister Elizabeth Thabethe said, “African countries have a lot in common and we must support each other in our activities so that we can grow regional tourism.”

The continent’s biggest tourism extravaganza will start on Tuesday and end on Thursday. The event is being attended by delegates from 31 African countries and 22 are exhibiting.

Many African tourism ministers called for the African governments to prioritize tourism to reap maximum benefits from the sector. Ugandan tourism Minister Ephraim Kamuntu added his voice, saying, “A single-visa has supported tourism development in East Africa.

The High Commission in South Africa is working on visa-free travel to Uganda for South Africans.

The Zambian Minister of tourism and arts Charles Banda called for Africans to support and complement each other’s tourism products. There are international buyers attending the Africa Travel Indaba to look for opportunities.

In 2017, over 62 million travelers visited Africa.


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