Kenya’s Tourism Sector Says Karibu to Obama

Nairobi — The Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) has welcomed the announcement by the American government on the visit of United States President Barak Obama for the Global Entrepreneurship Summit set for July, in Nairobi.

KTB Managing Director Muriithi Ndegwa said the visit by President Obama is a big endorsement on Kenya as a conferencing destination as the country prepares to be the first in Sub-Saharan Africa to host the annual Summit which was launched in 2009.

Ndegwa said a visit by the sitting US President and hosting of the global summit will help boost the country’s tourism and show the world that Kenya is safe and open for business.

“We welcome the announcement and consider it as a valid endorsement of Kenya as a destination that many are eager to visit and an indication of the prowess of the destination to host international meetings. This is in spite of the challenges of insecurity,” Ndegwa said.

He said his visit is timely since it will go a long way in boosting KTB’s reassurance among key tourism source markets on Kenya’s safety for tourism business.

“We are calling on UK to consider revising their recent updated travel advisory especially to the coastal region so as to allow its citizens to enjoy their tourism visits to the country,” he added.

Ndegwa said recent reports on insecurity and Ebola fears have negatively painted the image of the country and therefore lowering her brand equity. The US is the second leading tourism source market for Kenya and has had a steady growth save for the recent times when the destination perception has been challenged.

Most Americans are keen on Kenya’s Safari and adventure products as well as on conservation and eco-tourism.

Kenya will co-host the summit with the government of the US from July 24 to July 26, 2015. This will be the first visit by a sitting US President to Kenya.

During his visit President Obama is expected to hold bilateral talks with President Uhuru Kenyatta which will include the security situation in this region.

The Obama visit to Kenya is a shot in the arm in as far as visitation from the US is concerned. Only a week ago, a cruise ship from the US; M/S Silver Whisper docked at Mombasa Port with about 400 tourists on board another boost to tourism numbers from the market.