Kenya team study Morocco Tourism ‘Success Story’


Signing of a MOU between Kenya Tourist Federation and FNP in Cassablanca Morooco witnessed by Minister Hon. Najib Balala. Photo Coastweek

Coastweek – Kenya could soon realize her vision 2030 tourism flagship programme on development of tourist resort cities with the domestication of expertise from Morocco in line with a Memorandum of Understanding between the two countries.

Tourism Minister Najib Balala says the government will dispatch a team of Vision 2030 tourism flagship technical personnel to Morocco for a study on the implementation of tourist resort cities in the country.

Morocco has extensive experience on development of tourist resort cities since 1970’s, and it is this expertise the government is keen to tapping being part of an MOU signed between the two governments in November 2009.

The MOU among other areas of interest will look at the opportunities for exchange of the experience and know-how in the field of planning and financing tourism, in developing and maintaining tourism infrastructure and especially the tourist resort cities.

Under the Vision 2030 economic blue print, the government intends to develop three resort cities; two at the Coast in (Diani and Kilifi) and one in Isiolo to deliver the target of increasing bed capacity to cope up with the anticipated growth in number of tourists to the country.

Kenyan delegation who were in Morocco to study the local tourism success story. They are seen with Honorary Consul of Kenya in Morocco Ali M. Bajaber. He organized the trip in conjunction with Morocco Tourism board, Kenya Tourism Board and Kenya Tourist Federation. Photo Coastweek

Morocco boasts completed resort cities attracting thousands of tourists especially from the European market.

Morocco’s vision 2020 for tourism seeks to provide 200,000 new beds, doubling international tourists while tripling the domestic travelers.

Besides the three resort cities other two resort cities will be set up in the Northern part of kenya courtesy of the New Port in Lamu, a new modern railway and a highway stretching from Lamu to Ethiopia and Southern Sudan, a government project referred to as LAPPSET.

With it, two other tourist resorts; Lamu and Turkana will be developed.

All the projects are still at their preliminary stages thus the urgent need for the domestication of the Morocco’s model.

Proposed Kilifi resort will have a capacity of 8,000 beds inland, 16 hotels with total beds at 7,000, 5 quality apartment complexes of 1,000 beds and 100 exclusive Villas.

The facility is themed mass family-friendly resort targeting predominantly high-income tourist.

Diani which emphasizes wellness and an exposure of tourists to the rich culture of Kenyan communities will have 5,000 beds inland, 12 hotels and 100 Vilas.

The increase in bed capacity by the resort cities is expected to take care of the increasing number of tourists with a projected 3 million visitors by end of 2012.

These facilities will lead to the doubling of the number of bed nights, doubling the number of bed nights for business and conference tourists for the case of Diani and Kilifi.

The Isiolo facility will help optimize the rich tourism potential presented by Mt. Kenya, Meru National Park, the Aberdares and Samburu Park among others.This will exploit these underutilized parks by increasing bed-nights by at least 50 percent.

While speaking in Morocco Casablanca after meeting his tourism counterpart Lahcen Haddad last week, Balala said the team, will among other interest seek to know the process of identifying investors, development of support infrastructures and community involvement in the projects for sustainability purposes.

“As per our MOU with Morocco, we need to exploit exchange of the experience and know-how in the field of planning and financing tourism, in developing and maintaining tourism infrastruc-ture and especially the tourist resort cities”, said the minister.

Balala was leading a team of top tourism officials from the private sector and Kenya’s tourism marketing agency-Kenya Tourist Board (KTB) led by the Managing Director Muriithi Ndegwa on a benchmarking mission in the country whose tourism is one of the economic mainstays.

The private sector was represented by Kenya Tourist Federation (KTF) chief executive officer, Agatha Juma, Kenya Association of Tour Operators (KATO), Chief executive officer Fred Kaigwa and the chairperson Adam Jilo, Kenya Association of Hotel Keepers and Caterers (KAHC), chief executive officer Mike Macharia and the chairperson who is also the Sarova hotels managing director J.S Vohra.

Others were the Kenya Association of Travel Agents, (KATA) chief executive Waturi Matu, Mombasa Coast Tourist Association (MCTA) chairman Mohammed Hersi, Eco-tourism Kenya board member Elizabeth Kimotho, Pubs Entertainment and Restaurants Association of Kenya (PERAK) National chairman Walter Reif and trustee Ian Martin.

Morocco records almost 10 million tourist arrivals a year, placing it at second position in Africa after Egypt. Kenya is receives 2 million tourists per year.

Specific areas where Kenya seeks to borrow heavily from Morocco in-clude product di-versification, Domestic tourism with low cost accommodation model, golf tourism and community linkages to tourism especially through Small and Medium Enterprises (SMES).

According to the Minister, there is a need for intra-Africa trade and travel to be taken to the second level in the wake of expected shrinkages of keys source markets from the European countries affected by the Euro Zone crisis.

“This is a wake-up call to Africa to develop robust sustainable intra- Africa Regional Tourism as the only way to insure the continent against the economic fluctuations of European economies,” noted Balala.

For smooth implementation of MOU and communication between the two countries the Kenya government has cleared Morocco’s national carrier- Royal Air Maroc for a direct flight from Casablanca to Nairobi.

What remains according to Balala is for the airline and relevant authorities in the country to speed up on any necessary logistics to make the deal a reality.

Currently airlines such as Qatar airways, Egypt Air, Air Maroc, and Kenya Airways among others fly Nairobi through different routes including Dubai, Paris, Amsterdam, Doha, Cairo and London with stopovers of not less than ten hours making travel to Kenya tiresome.

A delegation of Royal Air Maroc is expected in Nairobi next month to finalize on finer details regarding the anticipated route.

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