Wednesday, 10 May 2017

KENYA: Kenya Tourism Has Potential To Benefit From West Africa Market

Kenya is projected to record over 30% increase in tourist arrivals from Nigeria and Ghana towards the end of the year as travelers shift their travel plans to the African continent.

According to the UNWTO tourism highlights for 2016, Africa contributed 3% to the global 2015 arrivals translating to 36 million arrivals, presenting Africa’s fertility for intra-Africa tourism

National Association of Nigeria Travel Agencies (NATA) chairman Stephen Isokariari says travel trade has identified Kenya as priority destination visitors prefer besides Europe and other destinations.

“Besides European Nations, Nigeria, Ghana and the larger part of West African countries are increasingly shifting their visit preference within Africa, with travel agencies putting Kenya on the top sale list,” says Isokariari.

Benefits of magical Kenya pre-paid card

He made the remarks in Abuja during the ongoing magical Kenya pre-paid card sensitization campaign unveiled by Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) and West Africa’s United Bank for Africa (UBA) to promote travel within the continent.

The pre-paid card targeting three West African countries of Ghana, Nigeria and Senegal will allow citizens to accumulate and transfer points in the card for use within the hospitality and travel industry.

“Diversity of tourism product offering, accessibility and various incentives are part of the reasons travel agencies are putting Kenya on top sale list,” said NATA chairman.

The loyalty program on the card and merchant affiliation will be managed by eGiftAfrica and the Go Places company.

KTB Chief Executive Officer Dr. Betty Radier in a statement said the West African nationals who travel for corporate, education, medical as well as leisure purposes within Africa will greatly benefit from the card.

She said the card was a great incentive as it avails exciting value adds to current and potential travelers in terms of bonus points and discounts. “There is an estimated market of over 5 Million card users in Nigeria, Ghana and Senegal, the reason we are leveraging UBA foot print,” pointed out Radier.

Market performance

Nigeria is Kenya’s top tourist source market in West Africa. It posted 17,962 arrivals last year up from 14,065 in 2015, translating to a growth of 27.7%.

Ghana on the other hand recorded a 37.2% growth of 8,391 visitors up from 6,116 recorded in 2015.

Tour operators in Senegal have however cited referral visa regime as an impediment to the increasing desire by Senegal citizens to travel to Kenya. Last year arrivals from Senegal closed at 1,108.

Senegal Kenya airways country Manager Martin Juma disclosed that the National carrier has received numerous concerns from travel agents and individual Senegalese citizens on referral visa application being a major deterrence for their travel to Kenya.

Local travelers and those from West African countries can now access pre-paid travel card that will allow accumulation and transfer of points within the hospitality sector.

This follows a successful launch of Magical Kenya pre-paid card on 21 March, 2017 by the Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) and United Bank for Africa (UBA)).

The card will also enable all users, whether customers of UBA or not – to have unparalleled access to its built-in benefits available across all platforms.

Promotion of visit to Kenya by travelers across the African continent will be enhanced with the launch of the pre-paid card.

The West African nationals who travel for corporate, education, medical as well as leisure purposes within Africa will greatly benefit from the card, according to KTB.

KTB chairman Mr. Jimi Kariuki said the card will further enhance the Magical Kenya’s footprint in the West African region and the entire continent. He pointed out that there was an untapped market of over 5 Million card users in Nigeria, Ghana and Senegal.

UBA Chief Executive officer Mr. Isaac Mwige noted that the usage of the card will be through selective criteria of age, deposit balance, number and types of accounts held by customer or corporate accounts.

Kariuki said the Magical Kenya Pre-paid Travel Card was a great incentive as it avails exciting value adds to current and potential travelers in terms of bonus points, discounts or gift.

The loyalty program on the card and merchant affiliation will be managed by eGiftAfrica and Go Places.

Through this partnership, Magical Kenya Prepaid Card Members will be able to access offers, rewards and discounts at these merchants through payments made with their prepaid card.