Nairobi — The tourism sector has received a major boost from the Indian market with a visit of about 300 tourists for an excursion of the country's tourism products.
Last week, Kenya played host to 150 Indian travellers for a tour of attractions within Nairobi and Masai Mara while another group is expected to the jet in first week of next month.
The trip which is part of an incentive programme organized through Reliance Industries (RIL's), an Indian multinational conglomerate company, is a shot in the arm to the sector that is picking up from the travel restrictions as a result of the covid-19 pandemic.
The visit comes as part of efforts by Kenya's Ministry of Tourism to boost MICE and B-leisure tourism, which is ideal for top executives and mid-level management visitors.
While receiving the first group of travellers at the Nairobi National Park, Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) termed the visit as a strong endorsement of the country's resilience to the impact of the pandemic as well as a first step toward restoring the confidence of Indian travellers in the destination.
"We are delighted to welcome the first batch of an incentive travel group from India. It shows that the destination is quickly re-opening and going back to normal travel business as it were and we are ready and prepared to receive visitors from all corners of the world," said KTB acting director of Marketing Development Fiona Ngesa.
According to KTB, the growing demand and preference for personalized service, preference for sustainable and responsible travel and affinity for experiential travel are key emerging travel trends that Kenya has adopted to cater for the tourists' needs.
India is a top five tourist source market to Kenya and whose performance is expected to rise courtesy of incentive programs and other promotional campaigns that KTB has lined up in the market.
On his part, Destination Management Company (DMC) Safari Trails CEO Rajay Thethi, said Kenya's decision to remove PCR testing for arriving passengers into the country and the resumption of daily flights to India has been key in the increasing interest to travel into the country.
"India is one of the emerging markets we have been focusing on and we are very grateful to the Kenyan government for allowing the resumption of daily direct flights from India on Kenya Airways and also making sure that travel between Kenya and India is eased," Rajay noted.
Ease of access to Kenya through the national carrier, Kenya Airways, that flies twice daily from Mumbai to Nairobi among other airlines have increased in the past, the flow of visitors into Kenya from the Asian market
Kenya had in 2021 imposed restrictions on travellers from India with the country being one of the worst-hit by the Covid-19 Delta Variant.
However, after the decline in number and the vaccination of citizens, both countries have lifted the restriction with visitors being allowed to travel freely.