Kenyans to attend world travel meet

The Kenya stand at the World Travel Market in London in 2008. Photo/FILE

London

Nearly 50,000 people are expected to attend the World Travel Market in London this week, where a record 79 Kenyan operators are exhibiting.

The four-day event which starts on Monday, is the premier global event for the travel industry, attracting senior travel industry professionals, government ministers and international press, at the massive ExCeL centre.

The WTM, which celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2009, generated £1,139 million of travel industry contracts last year.

Also set to be revealed on Monday afternoon is the 2010 Global Trends report, predicting the state of the tourist industry in a variety of regions around the world.

Last year’s report correctly predicted a surge of interest in tourism in East Africa in particular, as a result of the so-called ‘Obama Effect’, following the inauguration of the new US President.

The study anticipated a surge in interest in ‘roots tourism’ or visits from Africans living abroad, following the election of Barack Obama, the first US president with African heritage.

Experts widely believe the ‘Obama Effect’ helped drive interest in the East African region and international tourist numbers increased by 5 per cent in 2009, bucking the downward trend in most other destinations.

Africa also benefited as a result of the 2010 FIFA World Cup hosted by South Africa, with foreign tourist arrivals up about 25 per cent to 1.02 million from June 1 to July 1 compared with the same month last year.

Kenya’s prospects over the next year will be detailed in a press conference by the Kenya Tourism Board on Tuesday afternoon.

Despite ongoing international economic problems most exhibitors at WTM this year are predicting that they will do more business than in 2009.

More than a third (34%) expect to conduct about the same amount of business at this year’s WTM as they did last year.

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