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Myths & Facts about Tourism Kenya

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Myths & Facts about Tourism Kenya

As we start a new week I have penned a piece on Myths & Facts about Tourism Kenya.

❌️Myth No 1: Tourism hardly contributes 2% to the GDP.

✅️Fact: Tourism contributes 12% to our GDP, in 2022 Tourism report Tourism contributed 10.39% to the GDP.

❌️Myth No 2:  Tourism earnings payments are made abroad nothing comes to Kenya.

✅️Fact : Yes payments are made by international agents wired to our local banks. The remittance can easily be verified by CBK and even how those said funds trickle to hotels, airlines, tour companies who in turn pay all suppliers downstream including Kenya Power, employees, taxes ++. Tea and flowers is not any different from tourism remittance. 

❌️Myth No 3: Park fees in Kenya is too low at $100 per person be it Mara, Amboseli , Tsavo et al because Rwanda are able to charge $1500 for Gorilla tickets.

✅️Fact: Park fees in Kenya are already one of the highest amongst the safari destinations be it Tanzania, South Africa , Botswana et al . Rwanda Gorilla fees , the tickets are capped . For many years Rwanda was only able to issue 56 tickets which has now been increased to 96 due to more Gorilla families.  Next door Uganda can only issue 156 tickets a day . So supply is capped which is basic economics.  Then anyone choosing to pay $1500 they don't consider that as park fees but as their contribution to help conserve  extremely endangered species . Akagera National  Park which is like for like with our parks is at $100.

❌️Myth No 4:Tourism industry in Kenya is elitist and foreign owned.

✅️Fact: Hotels & Tour companies is now very much Kenyan. Just look at the 15 hotels formerly owned by African Safari  club German firm is now all Kenyan led by Pride Inn Paradise and Flamingo. The same applies to tour companies.  The employees in most of the hotels and tour firms is 100%   Kenya. Please don't be deceived by the international brands, they are all owned by locals but managed by international brands.  Kenya is one of the few sub Sahara countries with local chains like Serena , Sarova, Sopa, Pride Inn et al fighting for their space head to head with well known international brands.

❌️Myth No 5.  The land reserved for animals is waste of space and can be put to better use. A leading blogger one time proposed that Nbi national park ought to be closed and the land subdivided to more " lucrative "ventures.

✅️Fact : Most of the land occupied by wild animals is not arable land. Tsavo East or even Amboseli what can you grow there?  if you were to turn into Agricultural  land . Even then have we cultivated all the arable land in Kenya ?  We have grabbers at independence who sit on thousands of acres and it's idle land where quality farming can take place. Most of the parks and conservancies and parks is Arid and semi Arid rangeland that is only fit for beef cattle and wildlife. 

❌️Myth No 6.We don't need international tourism , locals are good enough to support and drive Kenyas tourism.

✅️Fact: We need both domestic & international . We cannot thank enough the domestic market .Tembea Kenya campaign has been a great success in that many other countries including South Africa have been studying our model.  Most of the time we dont appreciate what we have been able to achieve. East Africa and other African countries are yet even to start. We need the international visitors to bring in the much needed forex to help pay for our imports including oil, machinery, medicine ++

❌️Myth No 7: All tourists are rich and wealthy who have never ending trove of cash.

✅️Fact: Majority of Travellers around the world save for a long time to make that once in a lifetime trip to see Kenya to see Africa. These are hard working ordinary people who deliberately choose to save and take holidays. Some are even retired and they tend to escape during winter and spend time in a warmer destination like Kenya 

❌️Myth No 8: Kenya is the best and one and only destination in the world. Whoever wants to come can come whoever doesn't want to come it's fine.

✅️Fact: We are NOT alone in the business of tourism.  When it comes to safaris tourism we compete with 9 other nine countries.  When it comes to beach holidays we are competing against 41 other countries from Sri Lanka to Zanzibar, Egypt to Goa, Dominican Republic to South Africa +++

❌️Myth No 9: Kenyas tourism is not doing well with less than 2 Million tourists yet South Africa is able to attract 11Million.

✅️Fact : 75% of South Africa tourists are from the neighboring SADC neighbours . Zimbabwe alone is sending 3M + visitors. Lesotho that is totally surrounded by South Africa  is sending close to 2Million tourists which is almost entirely population.  They dependent on SA for almost everything considering that they are entirely locked by SA.  80% of visitors from SADC stated that they stayed with friends and relatives as opposed to hotels and resorts.  The visitors from USA , UK,  EU are identical to Kenyas.

❌️Myth No 10:  Hotels in Kenya are more costly when they charge per person. .

✅️Fact : Don't sweat the small stuff. Focus on single and double occupancy in a room. The per person offer is common with resorts where meals are included.

I hope I have touched on each and every myth put out there. In case I missed out to list any other please feel free to add in the comment section. 

What are your thoughts?

Mohammed Hersi
Diani Hospitality Owners Association