EAC countries bid to draw tourists from India

October 18, 2015

Thanks to modiconomics, there is a fast growing population of well educated middle class in India that has appetite for exploring the world and now tourism industry experts in the East African region are turning their marketing plans on Indian tourists who are said to be more keen on travel to African destinations that are nearer home than those far and are just as exciting.Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya and Tanzania are making a determined bid to woo tourist traffic from India with focus on adventure, weddings, honeymoons, health and wellness, and family and single-woman travel.There is even a plan that EAC countries may do away with visas for India before the end of this year. However, that is highly likely not to happen.In addition, emphasis is being given to green tourism along with shopping and golf to woo the new breed of Indian traveller who wants to try everything including different cuisines.In keeping with this objective, tourism marketers in the region have made comprehensive presentations to different tour operators in India over the last five months.

Kenya’s tourism which has suffered as result of insecurity incidents that peaked in April this year when more than 140 students were executed in cold blood by terror group from Somalia, is considering the huge potential for tourism that the country of nearly 40 million people presents with more than 20 international-standard golf courses in addition to the ethnic diversity of the country and its cuisine.Kenya Tourist Board is planning to hold joint exhibition with Uganda and Rwanda that would help connect buyers and sellers, giving a major boost to tourism in general across the three countries.Kenya wanted to target nearly 2 million tourists next year, with the traffic from India sub continent alone expected to account for about 150,000. However, an expert working in the tourism industry in the region whom I sought views about the latest Kenyan plans informed me that it will be impossible to achieve that target.The country hopes to raise this number to more than 300,000, focusing also on further promotion by allowing Indians to celebrate and hold their weddings in exotic locations such as Mombasa and Kilifi.Overall, if successful,the tourism links between Kenya and India will continuously strengthen.

Contador Harrison