CS Najib Balala speaking at the #MKTE2019 opening ceremony

A successful #MKTE2019

From 2 – 4 October 2019 thousands of people convened at Nairobi’s Kenyatta’s International Convention Centre for the 9th edition of the Magical Kenya Travel Expo or #MKTE2019. MKTE is a B2B trade show designed to increase tourism into Kenya and East Africa as a whole. As with trade shows it involved the presence of local and international media, international buyers (or travel agents), exhibitors, and local trade. As the event is a key fixture on the Kenyan travel trade calendar the cabinet secretary for tourism and wildlife in Kenya was also in attendance and gave an address before officially opening the show.

In Kenya the minister is called a “cabinet secretary”. CS Balala, along with a number of other dignitaries including the chair of the Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) and the KTB CEO were all in attendance.

In his address, the minister shared the ministry’s plans for the future like its plan to tap into cruise tourism.

“Cruise tourism is growing globally and Kenya wants to tap into this segment. Kenya is almost completing the construction of the cruise terminal in Mombasa and we anticipate it will be ready by the end of the year. This is set to open major businesses in the country and Kenya will be competing with the rest in the world.”

He also announced the opening of a national convention bureau for Kenya – a key development as the country wants to better target MICE tourism. MICE tourism is meetings, incentives, conferences, and events…basically business tourism.

You can read the minister’s speech here.

The show creates opportunities for business connections that will increase tourism into Kenya, in particular, and East Africa in general. This year I attended the show for the third year in a row and, once again, it was success filled with interesting people, great African products, and great insights.

There were interesting seminars related to tourism and the business of tourism as well as presentations on the different markets (i.e. countries) that visit Kenya.

Interviewing an #MKTE2019 hosted buyer from China
Me interviewing an #MKTE2019 hosted buyer from China

The market presentations were quite interesting. They are a series of presentations, prepared by the KTB regional marketing manages, on the markets in which they specialise. It was at these presentations that I heard about visitors from those countries or regions, what their travel patterns are, what they want out of a holiday in Kenya, and what the KTB is doing to target those markets. For example, many people who visit Kenya from Europe, the UK, and the US see it as a “once-in-a-lifetime” trip and they usually spend their trip in the Maasai Mara during the migration. As such, the KTB is focused on showcasing Kenya as a destination that visitors can return to year after year…and for more than the wildlife.

I love Kenya – I fell in love with it over a decade ago when I first visited it and it’s wonderful to hear the plans the ministry has to increase visitor numbers, support the wildlife, and create sustainable solutions for the future.

The official numbers for the show have not been released but it seems there are record numbers for this year!

The show is organised by our partner On Show Solutions for whom we handle the MKTE social media. This year we also took over the MKTE emailers to hosted buyers, exhibitors, hosted media, and trade. In working on the mailers we shared some interesting information on Kenya with the international buyers ahead of their arrival in Kenya. Over the next little while, we will share this with you as well.

We hope you enjoy this series and that you get to know Kenya and learn to love it as much as I do.

Follow the show on social media using #MKTE2019, liking the Facebook page (@magicalkenyatravelexposhow), following the Twitter account (@mktravelexpo), and following the Instagram page(@magicalkenyatravelexpo).

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