Kenya Eyes Nigeria, Others to Boost Travel, Tourism Market

Kenya Eyes Nigeria, Others to Boost Travel, Tourism Market

Chinedu Eze

Nigeria has the record of being the most travelled indigenous Africans while Nigerian route remains the most profitable route per passenger on the African continent.

With economic downturn, coupled with stringent visa conditions introduced by many countries in Europe, Asia and the United States, many Nigerians are reviewing their travel destinations and are beginning to exploit African countries.

According to Statista, in 2021 out of the many countries Nigerians travelled to for business and for leisure, Ghana ranked number one destination travelled by Nigerian residents, followed by the United States, Ethiopia, Senegal, Togo. In fact, 38 per cent of Nigerians who travelled out of the country went to Ghana, while 14 per cent travelled to the United States, six per cent to Ethiopia, five per cent to Senegal and four per cent to Togo. In that same 2021 about four million Nigerians travelled out of the country.

Kenya last week, carried out a road show with the aim to have a slice of the number of Nigerians that embark on business, leisure and tourism travels. It was learnt that Kenya is targeting to raise tourist arrivals from West Africa by pitching for business and leisure travel.

Kenya’s Tourism Board (KTB) Acting CEO, John Chirchir, said the West African market remained integral to its strategy to diversify tourist source markets and broaden the country’s destination portfolio.
In particular, he noted that Nigeria and Ghana, have shown improvements of six per cent and 48 per cents respectively in 2023 and rank among Kenya’s potential markets in the African continent.

He made this known during a meeting held to mark the beginning of a series of road shows in the Nigeria and Ghanian cities of Lagos, Abuja and Accra. KTB and Kenya airways led over 15 travel and trade companies for in-market activations held from February 5-9, 2024.

“With around 1.4 billion people, Africa stands as one of the biggest source markets for trade, business, and tourism. We are starting off with West Africa with roadshows in Accra, Lagos and Abuja which are interesting emerging markets. During the activation, we expect the 17 Kenyan trade companies to engage in business meeting and direct engagements with potential travellers from the three cities. We cannot ignore the potential that the African Market has for tourism” Chirchir stated.

The Sales Manager of Kenya Airways in Nigeria, Rotimi Martins, explained that Kenya Tourism Board targets  West African destination and prominently Nigeria and Ghana havethe traction to give them the population they are looking to enter Nairobi and the objective is to boost leisure and tourism for Kenya.

“And if Kenya tourism board is having an event of this nature, Kenya Airways must surely collaborate with them to make it a success. That is why we are here as a partner in business and as a sister company to KTB. So that is the essence of today’s event. You can see there are pretty lot of people you are seeing here are travel agents or we call them trade partners. They are the people that will assist us boost destination Kenya. That is talking of Nairobi, Mombasa, Diani and the host of other tourist points in Kenya. So that is the essence of the event,” he said.

Martin disclosed that Kenya Airways would increase its frequency to Lagos and start the Abuja flights.

“Frequency increment has been a thing we are looking at even before the KTB event. Presently we are doing seven flights out of Lagos, which is every day. But come April we are going to add one to it, to make it eight. But come the summer of this year, we are going to do 10 flights out of Lagos to Nairobi.

“So come April, based on this event that you are seeing, we are doing a seven days flight out of Lagos. But we are going to increase it to eight come April. Additional one flight, which means on day seven of every week we will do morning and night. But come June, we are going to do 10 out of Lagos. That is at the inception of the summer period. Then towards the end of the year, a little bit after summer, we are going to start Abuja. So, we will be flying out of Abuja and out of Lagos, and most likely, 15 to about 18 flights out of Nigeria. That is what we are going to do,” Martins further disclosed.

The Marketing Manager of Kenya Tourism Board, Alex Tunoi, said the reason why “we are here is part of our strategy for diversifying the source markets, and we are focusing on West Africa as one of our key source markets to grow numbers of tourism arrivals into Kenya.”

He said the Board had observed that “Africans are beginning to travel, and they have the propensity for travel, and they are looking for new and exciting destinations. And we are here as Kenya to offer this opportunity to this market for them to come to Kenya and enjoy what Kenya has to offer.”

Tunoi also said that the Kenya Tourism Board came with trade partners, two operators, hoteliers, to develop packages for the Nigerian market.

“That means that engaging with the Nigerian trade partners, we are able to share with you all the attractions that Kenya has to offer. And also share with you what the government has put in place to ease travel restrictions to make Kenya more accessible to the market. And that is why we are here. Putting our business people in touch with your business people. So this is a business to business meeting so that we will be able to work with the trade here, through this partnership and grow travel arrivals into Kenya,” he said.

The representative of the hotel chain, Sarova Hotels and Resorts, Steve Biko, said the hotels in Kenya were ready to receive Nigerians, noting that Nigeria is a big market and they are poised to provide incentives that will attract and sustain Nigerian visit to Kenya both for business and for leisure.

“Nigeria is a big market from the efforts that we have seen here. It is important and paramount that we are able to capture the Nigerian market. I just learnt today that KQ  (Kenya Airways) will have daily flights to Lagos from Nairobi. There must be a reason why. I had somebody asking about Ugandan Airlines. And the Ugandan Airlines have told me this has been their most profitable route last year. There are factors that set us apart from other hotels.

“Number one, we are indigenously Kenyan. We are the first Kenyan hotel chain. And we have been there. We are celebrating our 50th years this April. So, for us to have stayed in business for that long, it means we are doing something right. And every day what separates us is we try and get better, listen to the customer more, and provide experiences the customer will enjoy. We are focused on guest experience. We are not focused on what we have, but we are focused on giving the guests the best experience so that they can keep talking about us,” Biko said.

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