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The Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) is looking to double tourism arrivals from Italy and France as it seeks to drive the full recovery of the sector post the Covid-19 pandemic.

KTB held its first in-person Business-to-Business (B2B) meetings in the Italian and French markets, targeting as it eyes over 122,000 arrivals from Italy and 69,500 arrivals from France.

KTB Chief Executive Officer June Chepkemei acknowledged the importance of the two markets, noting that the engagements held in Rome and Paris were aimed at reinvigorating demand for Magical Kenya as a preferred tourism destination.

“Italy and France have consistently ranked among Kenya’s top source markets for tourist arrivals while also projecting robust growth towards the achievement of our targets. It was therefore paramount that we reconnected with our key partners in these lucrative markets as part of our broader strategy to enhance destination Kenya’s competitiveness,” Ms. Chepkemei said.

She noted that Italy delivered 69,080 arrivals in 2023, surpassing the target of 57,900 arrivals. “The growth can be attributed to both leisure and visiting friends and relatives (VFR) travel from Italy. The Italian market was the second most improved source market for the last two years , in 2022 it grew by 156% from 12,207 arrivals in 2021 to 31,301 arrivals. In 2023, the number of arrivals from Italy grew by 121%. We are redoubling our efforts to sustain this trend,” she stated.

Tourism arrivals from France grew by 33% from 35,329 arrivals in 2022 to 47,072 arrivals in 2023 with KTB looking to increase arrivals to 69,498 this year.

As part of enhancing destination awareness, KTB has introduced immersive e-learning for travel agents through the Magical Kenya Travel Specialist program to equip them with in-depth destination knowledge. In particular, KTB is looking to highlight new signature experiences in wildlife, beach, culture, sports, and the Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, and Exhibitions (MICE) niches while emphasizing sustainable travel practices and community involvement to ensure visitors make a meaningful impact.

The B2B meetings featured partnerships with over 90 travel trade partners, including national carrier Kenya Airways.

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