Nairobi – The tourism sector has received a major boost from the Indian market with the visit of about 300 tourists for a field trip on the country’s tourism products.
Last week Kenya hosted 150 Indian travelers for a sightseeing tour in Nairobi and Masai Mara, while another group is expected in the first week of next month.
The trip, which is part of an incentive program organized by Reliance Industries (RIL’s), an Indian multinational conglomerate, is a shot in the arm for the sector recovering from travel restrictions imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic .
The visit is part of the Kenya Ministry of Tourism’s efforts to promote MICE and B leisure tourism, which is ideal for senior and middle management visitors.
While welcoming the first group of travelers to Nairobi National Park, the Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) described the visit as a strong endorsement of the country’s resilience to the impact of the pandemic, as well as a first step in restoring Indian travelers’ confidence in Kenya’s destination.
“We are delighted to welcome the first batch of an incentive tour group from India. This shows that the destination is quickly reopening and returning to normal travel business, so to speak, and we are ready and prepared to receive visitors from all corners of the world,” said KTB Acting Director of Marketing Development Fiona Ngesa.
According to KTB, growing demand and preference for personalized service, preference for sustainable and responsible travel, and affinity for experiential travel are key emerging travel trends that Kenya has adopted to cater to tourists’ needs.
India is one of the top 5 tourist source markets in Kenya and its performance is expected to increase thanks to incentive programs and other promotional campaigns that KTB has set up in the market.
For his part, Rajay Thethi, CEO of Destination Management Company (DMC) Safari Trails, said Kenya’s decision to scrap PCR testing for inbound passengers in the country and the resumption of daily flights to India are key to increasing interest in travel to the country been.
“India is one of the emerging markets that we have focused on and we are very grateful to the Kenyan Government for enabling the resumption of daily direct flights from India with Kenya Airways and also for facilitating travel between Kenya and India will,” Rajay noted.
Easy access to Kenya by national carrier Kenya Airways, which flies twice daily from Mumbai to Nairobi, among other airlines, has historically increased the flow of visitors to Kenya from the Asian market
Kenya had imposed restrictions on travelers from India in 2021, with the country being one of the hardest hit by the Covid-19 delta variant.
After the numbers fell and citizens got vaccinated, both countries have lifted the restriction, allowing visitors to travel freely.