Kenya's hospitality industry has been eager to capitalize on the favorable tourism outlook.
Over 500 decent hotels exist in the country and the figures are growing rapidly.
Chinese multi-national companies are active in Kenya in the sectors of food production, engineering and construction, communication, telecommunications, aviation and motor vehicle manufacturing.
Several Chinese manufacturers are already setting up local production plants in Kenya, thereby shifting from the previous strategy where they supplied the domestic consumer market from China.
Statistics by the Kenya Investment Authority shows that at least 18 Chinese companies established business in Nairobi in the past two years targeting diverse markets such as footwear and electronics.
Kenya has lauded Chinese investment in the hotel industry, stating that it would increase bed occupancy especially at this time when the country is experiencing a revamp in the tourism industry.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism Ruth Solitei said Wednesday in Nairobi during the launch of the 2017 Africa Hotel Investment Forum (AHIF) that some Chinese-owned Hotels situated in Nairobi have increased occupancy and conferencing levels in the hospitality industry.
Solitei welcomed more investors in the tourism sector with a promise of growth and return for investments, which she said can be evidenced by the recent tourism performance which recorded growth in the last four years.
"The potential is even higher as the sector is internationally projected to be a leading future international service industry where Africa ranks 4th in the market share with approximated growth rate of over five percent."
Tourism is Kenya's most important industry, after agriculture. According to the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), it is responsible for 14 percent of GDP and 12 percent of total employment.
It is also a sector that WTTC predicts will continue to grow at 3.7 percent per annum for the next decade.
Economic drivers include the country's fantastic natural tourism resources, such as beautiful beaches and spectacular wildlife, including the opportunity to see "the big five", Elephant, Rhino, Lion, Buffalo, and the Leopard in their natural habitat.
The Kenyan tourism industry will scale up diversify of its products from the traditional beach and safari markets to create other ways of generating income by making the experience more attractive to a wide cross-section of tourists.
Speaking at the launch of the second Kenya Tourism and Media Awards, Kenya Tourism Board Managing Director Muriithi Ndegwa said they need to promote growth in other areas that would add value to the country and make Kenya a holistic travel experience.
“We’re talking about diversifying tourism products such as promoting the culture, our beaches, the scenery, eco-tourism, and M.I.C.E. tourism,” he revealed.
THE EVENT THAT TARGETS’S EAST AFRICA’S MASSIVE INTERIORS & HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY
Africa is the new frontier for tourism and development. The potential for growth is staggering for investors and stakeholders alike and there is no better time than now to invest into the continent. According to the WTTC the direct contribution of travel & tourism to GDP is expected to be USD76.5bn (4.0% of total GDP) in 2011, rising by 5.3% pa to USD129.1bn in 2021 (in constant 2011 prices). The total contribution of travel &tourism to GDP, including its wide economic impacts, is forecast to rise by 5.3% pa from USD171.0bn (9.0% of GDP) in 2011 to USD289.1bn by 2021.
East Africa alone has about doubled its tourism arrivals over the last two years and expects to exceed six million visitors in 2012, creating huge demand for hotel rooms, hospitality services and new-to-market food products.
BIG 3 Arica is the leading and only forum in East & Central Africa. With the hospitality industry in Kenya raking in billions of shillings in tourism totaling to an average of 32.8% which translates to Ksh. 97.9 Billion annually, the industry’s hotel establishments have a net worth of over Ksh. 10 billion. Arrivals into the country in 2011 grew to 15.4 % to 1.26 million. Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi and Rwanda, alike, record the same trends.
The Hospitality Industry has invested aggressively in marketing the vast establishments and the region, as well as unveiling incentives to attract many tourists into the region.
The East African region has a strong hold worldwide for hospitality developments because of its hospitable people, prime location and beautiful weather. Nairobi is among the region’s top import and export hubs with world-class logistics and a very reliable trade and business infrastructure.
The fair will positively stimulate the tourism sector and bolster the hospitality industry in Kenya and the region as a whole.
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