NAIROBI, Oct. 1 (Xinhuanet) – Kenya has urged tourism industry players to diversify products to strengthen its resilience to disruptions related to COVID-19.
Safina Kwekwe, chief secretary of the Foreign Ministry for Tourism, said in a statement released Friday that the pandemic exposed the country’s heavy reliance on foreign tourists from Western Europe’s traditional source markets.
“There is a need to diversify tourism products by developing new attractions to attract visitors to other parts of the country away from the beach and safaris, for example by promoting cultural tourism,” noted Kwekwe, speaking of the sacred Kaya Kinondo forest in Kwale County, southwest, toured Kenya during a tree-planting drive as part of World Tourism Week celebrations.
Kwekwe added that Kenya has a lot to offer in terms of tourism and urged stakeholders to diversify their sources of income by promoting events such as cultural and sports tourism.
“We don’t want foreign and domestic tourists to just appreciate the beauty of the beaches, we want them to enjoy other activities and extend their stay,” said Kwekwe.
She noted that the coastal region has pristine sandy beaches and is also home to the sacred Kaya Forests, which are based on nature and have a rich history that could attract tourists.
Kwekwe said it was necessary to aggressively promote the country as a year-round travel destination and make tourism a pillar of economic growth.
The chief secretary said the country’s tourism sector is expected to return to pre-pandemic levels by 2023.