Tourism stakeholders from across the globe will converge in Kenya’s coastal city of Mombasa on Friday to explore ways of unlocking East Africa’s tourism potential through the creation of a joint marketing platform.

Kenyan officials confirmed on Monday that the East Africa Tourism Development Forum will bring together 250 participants from 10 countries including tourism ministers from Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Seychelles.
Cabinet Secretary of Ministry of East Africa Affairs, Commerce and Tourism Phyllis Kandie said in a statement received on Monday that the forum will provide a valuable opportunity to position the region as a single destination.

“The idea is to showcase East Africa to a wider global audience. One of the key issues on the table is how to build the image of the region as a tourism destination,” Kandie said.

The Aug. 20-22 meeting will be held under the auspices of the UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) and will be chaired by the organization’s secretary-general Taleb Rifai.

The forum whose theme is “Connecting Opportunity” will host discussions concerning intra-Africa opportunities in tourism while strengthening regional cooperation.

The conference to be co-hosted by Kenya and UNWTO will seek ways of enhancing the visibility of the East African market within a highly competitive global tourism environment.

“This is one of a series of major events we hope to capitalize on to build the Kenyan tourism brand,” Kandie said.

Speaking ahead of the meeting, UNWTO Regional Director for Africa Elcia Grandcourt and Rifai said in a joint statement that they felt honoured to be bringing together tourism leaders from the region and Vanila Island nations in an effort to accelerate the unlocking of tourism.

“Thereafter, a series of thoughtful, solutions orientated discussions focused on advancing tourism growth in the East Africa region will unfold, commencing with examination of East African regional image,” they said.
Tourism is the second largest source of foreign exchange revenue for Kenya after tea, with the main tourist attractions being photo safaris through 19 national parks and game reserves, though the country has been diversifying to other areas like eco-tourism, conference tourism and cultural tourism. Enditem

Source: Xinhua


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