BrandArena: GES and Obama's visit: what this means to Kenyan tourism & travel industry

Tuesday 21 July 2015

GES and Obama's visit: what this means to Kenyan tourism & travel industry

President Barack Obama is scheduled to visit the country, in an event that is seen as a great endorsement for the country’s Tourism and Travel that has been facing several challenges including travel advisories and terrorism threats.

President Obama is scheduled to be in the country later this week, mainly to attend the 6th Global Entrepreneurship Summit that will see tens of thousands gather in the capital city of Kenya for the two day event. The summit which serves as a platform for individuals, SMEs, opinion leaders as well as Governments and international organizations to meet and trade ideas as well as support emerging entrepreneurs is part of the President’s Spark Initiative aimed at linking, directing and communicating entrepreneurship across the globe.

Among other aspects, the GES Summit will focus on innovation and its role in the Sub-Saharan African economy; mainly looking into entrepreneurship and innovation in the region. Kenya has been on the lead in promoting certain aspects of this including mobile money, governance, healthcare and e-tourism; with the later furthering the country’s inclusion on the global scale for online Travel and Tourism.

This as Estelle Verdier-Managing Director for East and Southern Africa says is a great endorsement to Kenya as a safe destination, “the success of this summit and the President’s visit primarily recognizes Kenya’s position in the global economy and positions the country’s business and environment as both secure and rewarding”. The MD went ahead to observe that, Kenya’s Travel and Tourism plays a big role in contribution to the GDP and expressed confidence in the growth of the industry in the coming years. Her company -, is a leading online hotel booking platform which has partnered with over 25,000 hotels in Africa to ensure speed and ease in online bookings.

GES is part of the major events lined up to take place in Kenya in the second half of 2015. Kenya will be hosting the Africa Travel Association in November while the tenth World Tourism Ministerial Conference will take place in December. The coastal capital of Mombasa is also scheduled to host the Mombasa International Cultural Festival in November, with stakeholders expressing renewed optimism after the UK lifted its non-essential travel ban on the region. This events, as Verdier says, will be good opportunity to showcase the industry’s new frontier in Meetings and Incentives, and its hosting ability.

According to the World Economic Forum -2015 report on Global Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index Ranking, Kenya has improved steadily, jumping from position 103 in 2012 to a promising 78 in a report that covers 141 countries across the globe. The report released in May, also ranks Kenya as one of the most searched destinations online at position 10, by visitors looking for natural tourism. Kenya heads the pack in East Africa while further ranking an impressive 5th position in the sub Saharan Africa region.

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