The Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) is set to spend Sh200 million in the sector’s recovery plan amidst travel advisories from key markets among them the United States, United Kingdom, Australia and France.
The plans include a global online reputation management campaign where they will push negative press past the second page in search engines and replace them with positive press for six months.
KTB Managing Director Muriithi Ndegwa says the campaign will be run by a UK firm at a cost of Sh10 million.
“We have already awarded the tender to a UK firm called National Review. This is aimed at increasing visibility and consistently maintain positive destination presence in the global market.
Ndegwa said that the campaign will be implemented in markets that include the UK, Ireland, USA, Canada, Australia, South Africa, India, Nigeria, Ghana, Germany, France, Belgium, Russia and Spain.
Others include China, Japan, Brazil and the Netherlands among others.
The board also plans to engage mainstream consumer media and select trade media in an experiential trip to equip them with stories to tell their readers.
The broad is also planning to leverage on Kenya’s sportsmen and women who will appeal to the markets through their influences.
“We are also planning to increase domestic tourism’s contribution to bridge the gap in low seasons as a sustainable source for tourism through running campaigns that encourage Kenyans to travel,” he said.
Ndegwa said that they are considering partnering with low cost carriers, buses and Kenya Wildlife Service Community lodges and coastal hotels in sales promotions in a bid to make domestic tourism more affordable.
In 2013, the total number of hotel bed nights occupied was about 6.5 million. Out of this 2.6 million was occupied by Kenyan residents.
“We cannot ignore the international market, they have 47 percent of our revenue. The top five markets include UK, USA, Italy Germany and India in that order,” he said.
He said since the travel advisories, some tour companies have stopped selling the Mombasa destination.
“We are going to reassure these markets that the country is safe; terrorism is not a peculiarly Kenyan phenomenon,” he said.
Earlier Tourism Cabinet Secretary Phyllis Kandie said that they are targeting at least one million Chinese tourists to visit Kenya every year.
Kandie said the push is however meant to add Kenya’s tourist arrivals and not substitute visits from the traditional source markets of the West.
The move also comes as tourism stakeholders urge the government to intervene as the ongoing travel advisories will hurt the tourism industry having lost Sh5 billion so far following cancellations that have been made between now and October 2014.