Kenya’s Ministry of Tourism and Wildlife Launches a New Tourism Strategy 2021–2025
On Friday, the Ministry of Tourism and Wildlife in Kenya launched a new Tourism Strategy for Kenya (2021-2025) in Nairobi. In attendance was Cabinet Secretary Hon. Najib Balala, Principal Secretary Zeinab Hussein, Brig. (Rtd) John Waweru, key shareholders and sponsors. The strategy sets a new way of working in Kenya’s tourism industry by adding value to its products and marketing.
Kenya’s service sector is dominated by Tourism. Kenya’s tourism sector accounts for up to 63% of GDP. Despite having a lot to offer, the industry heavily promotes game safaris and coastal beaches. The new tourism strategy aims to diversify its offerings, introducing new products to the industry.
Cabinet Secretary, Hon. Najib Balala, during his opening speech at the launch, disclosed that Kenya’s tourism industry recorded its best year in 2019, surpassing its 2 million visitor target and making over $1.6 billion.
But in 2020, the industry experienced a new low due to the global pandemic’s effects. The government, ministry officials, and key stakeholders had to sit down and reflect.
“There will be no 2019 anymore. We just have to think forward. We have to invest, we have to innovate, and we will get our income from our innovation.” Hon. Balala said.
The Tourism cabinet secretary said the new vision was solid, assuring the audience it was discussed in cabinet with the input of the national treasury.
“This vision is beyond Najib Balala, the government, and the next government,” he declared. Hon. Balala said the new strategy aims to answer some essential questions in four broad areas:
- Brand (Magical Kenya): What is Kenya’s value proposition as a destination?
- Marketing: How best do we capitalize on our brand and target and market our value proposition more effectively?
- Experiences: How do we ensure value for money in our country’s offerings aligned to our brand promise and our marketing?
- Enablers: How do we incorporate digitalization across the tourism journey. How do we, in particular, develop sustainability standards to align with global trends. How do we finance tourism and conservation initiatives?
The cabinet secretary highlighted critical issues in marketing Kenyan tourism. He feels the industry needs to evolve from “Hakuna Matata” and “Out of Africa.” He also emphasized the need to broaden the tourism budget from the meager $5 million to competitive proportions that will foster the change the new vision proposes.
The Ministry of Tourism and Wildlife is also looking to introduce four new products diversifying Kenya’s offerings from cliched game safaris and coastal beaches to:
- Adventure tourism
- Cultural tourism
- Sports tourism
Hon. Balala also promised to host a photo exhibition for the world, showcasing Kenya’s hidden jewel Mt. Kenya on the 1st of July 2022.
“In 90 days, we will have a very firm foundation for tourism to grow from high to height in this country. “Principal Secretary Zeinab Hussein said, offering a vote of thanks.
The cabinet secretary’s revelation of the Ministry’s tourism budget was a shocker considering Kenya’s stake in global tourism. The new strategy is no doubt impressive. The four pillars can turn the sector around, offering more opportunities for locals while enriching the economy. However, the Ministry and major stakeholders need to put as much effort into the last pillar, ‘Enablers,’ as they plan to put into marketing.
Sustainability, Climate Action, and Conservation need to be at the forefront of the strategy as much as Marketing. Otherwise, what good is a marketing strategy if you have nothing to offer?