Virgin Atlantic Boss Campaigns for Kenya Tourism

The British high profile individuals continue to render a lot of support to the ailing tourism sector in Kenya. Virgin Atlantic boss sir Richard Branson has added his influence and wealth to the campaign. Apart from building a hotel in the famous Maasai Mara national park, Sir Richard is committing about a quarter of a million British pounds in direct marketing of the country.

Naomi Campbell has also been in the news in the recent past campaigning for Kenya. She owns a tourist resort in Malindi where she visits every year. Although a lot of assurances have been given to tourists that Kenya has returned to normalcy, tourists have largely kept away, leaving a large workforce of people who rely on tourism jobless.

The virgin Atlantic boss seems to have a lot of fondness for Kenya. His airline flies to Kenya daily from Britain a commitment they retained even at the height of ethnic tensions in the country albeit at a loss. His company is also the official sponsor of Kenya’s sevens a side rugby team the most travelled and successful sporting team in Kenya.

The effects of the skirmishes earlier in the year continue to be felt in the country. The massive negative publicity that the country received in the first two months of this year led to many cancelations and resheduling of arranged tours. Different approaches have been adopted to try and woo back the tourists in Kenya.

In late April, a group of international journalists were invited into the country to try and correct the image back in their countries. Another team of tour operators from Kenya’s source markets also toured Kenya, to see for themselves the situation on the ground. The efforts are yet to produce any tangible results with most tourist resorts remaining under utilised.

This prolonged shunning of the country by tourists could be the longest the sector has ever suffered. Interestingly, the greatest beneficiary of the crisis in Kenya was South Africa. The tourism giant finds itself in the same situation Kenya was earlier in the year with violence breaking out, pitting African foreigners against the locals. With an influx of Zimbabwe nationals walking into the South African territory, it has become an easy scape goat for the South Africans to blame them for all their woos.

This is the last thing the tourists want to see. With the world cup set to be held in the country in only two years time, it will be in the interest of not only South Africa but for the whole of Africa to contain the skirmishes within the shortest time possible. It is not encouraging to hear talk of a fully fledged civil war from down South.

The breaking out of violence in South Africa could have adverse effects in their well marketed tourism industry heading to the peak season. Like Kenya earlier in the year, camps are being set up for people whose property has been damaged or whose lives are in danger. These are situations that the two countries are not used to dealing with because they have enjoyed peace most of the time.

It is of utmost importance for South Africa to quell the violence fast to avoid a situation where skeptics who are of the view that Africa is insecure to host a big event like the world cup will have ground to argue their case. Whether or not the situation down south will work in Kenya’s favour waits to be seen.

By: James G Kamweru

About the Author:

James G. Kamweru is a tour operator and has been organizing and reporting on Vacation, Travel and Tours for years. For More Information Visit his site at KenyaI Will Also Appreciate Your Comments On Ark Of The Covenant On My Blog HereKenya

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