Kenya is pulling out all stops to welcome Indian tourists
Kenya is wooing Indians like never before. Though India ranks fourth (after U.S., U.K. and Italy) among all the countries visiting Kenya, the number of Indian tourists is growing. In 2012, more than 60,000 Indian tourists travelled to Kenya. Since 2009 India has registered a growth of 68% in the number of tourist receipts. These figures came to light at a recent press conference in New Delhi where Kenya made a concerted effort to attract more Indians with specially designed packages.
The country is now selling its destinations like Mombasa and Lamu not just for recreation but also as possible wedding destinations and even inviting Bollywood producers to shoot in the country. Speaking on the occasion Florence I. Weche, High commissioner of Kenya to India, said, “We see a lot of potential in the Indian market and that is why we are marketing more now. Our objective is to reach over 2,00,000 Indian tourists in the next five years. We are focussing on weddings, high-end travellers, honeymoon, sports and Bollywood. India and Kenya have a lot of historical connection and it is easy for Indians to connect with the country.”
The age-old charms of Kenya are still at work. For instance, there are various types of safari — camel safari, balloon safari, cycle safari among others — on offer. One can even walk with a guide for the safaris, as also enjoy golf on one of the 29 scenic golf courses the country has on offer. Other activities include horse rides in search of elephants, spotting lions in the wild or a massage on the shores of the Indian Ocean. Kenya also has some of the best dive sites and dive schools and the Kenyan barrier reef ensures shark-free waters.
India and Kenya have a rich history together and people of Indian origin comprise a sizable section of the Kenyan population. The country is operating direct flights to Nairobi from Delhi and Mumbai. The visa can be obtained from the Kenyan embassy or it can be stamped on arrival, for a fee of 50 USD. English is the official language of Kenya, making it quite easy for the travellers.
However, there have always been security concerns while visiting Kenya. There have been media reports of mugging and thefts. Now better security measures are in place, it was claimed at the conference. Betty Ichan, Regional Marketing Manager, Kenya Tourism, said, “Kenya is a very safe place, the people of Kenya are very helpful and friendly. You can go anywhere and anytime. To help the tourists we have just launched a mobile application ‘The Magical Kenya App’. This mobile application aims to increase arrivals to the country by providing an opportunity through which the tourists find reliable information about the country, plan their trips and share their holiday experiences.”