Kenya Perfectly Placed To Take Advantage of US Travel Trends


Event Africa Contributor 06/10/2021 Uncategorized

Americans are travelling. Between January and June this year there were 18 million trips made internationally by Americans, Luke Jones, the Market Development Representative for Kenya Tourism Board in the US, said at MKTE 2021 this week.

Africa is actually getting some market share out of the United States right now. “For the month of June we saw a 54% increase in travel to Africa from the USA and Kenya got roughly a third of that share. The US market is still performing even though in the current situation it is quite hard to travel, so I think Kenya is really reaping the benefit of staying open during this whole pandemic and I think the market share reflects that.”

Luke says that Kenya is perfectly placed to take advantage of the trends emerging in the US travel industry: “Travel big and do fewer trips is a new trend. People are looking to stay longer and do fewer trips, especially from the US market. A survey actually found that 55% of travellers said that they would travel for 14 days or more and 60% said they would only take a few trips a year which means we have to go deeper into destinations. This is wonderful for Kenya,” Luke said, “because it offers people rich cultural experiences beyond just safaris.

“Travel with a purpose, giving back to the community, ecotourism, those are all trends before Covid but we’re seeing those really escalate. A recent survey found that 68% of all travellers want their money when they travel to go back to the local community and trips and travelling in Kenya provides so many opportunities for that.

“We are also going to see more travel outside of the high season as people become more mindful of crowds, so that’s great for Kenya as a destination too, because it has wonderful all year round experiences,” said Luke.

The general consensus with the travel industry is our hopes lie in the millennial segment because there’s a lot of them and they’re young and they’re willing to travel, and … they’re more adventurous. They’re typically working professionals with no children so they don’t have to plan for a whole family trip. They can go on a long haul vacation to Kenya and they’re also seeking the experiences that Kenya has to offer. 

Now the baby boomer, which is the traditional safari segment, we shouldn’t turn our back on. They’re a bit more vulnerable but they have been vaccinated, and they do want to travel. They’ve got cabin fever.

For her part Betty Ichan, Regional Marketing Manager at Kenya Tourism Board for the US, said: “Everybody is coming out of the pandemic and beginning to travel so as Magical Kenya our message is ‘Come and rediscover the magic’. As a destination we’ve put in place the health and safety protocols to ensure that your clients are safe with us and we are also increasing the number of people who are vaccinated, so we want to reassure people that Kenya is ready and it is open for business.”

Betty adds: “We already have over 200 buyers and over 100 exhibitors at MKTE so that’s already an indication that there is interest in the destination, there is interest in travel so we are really optimistic that this is an indication that the future looks good, the future is bright.

“Anytime you want to travel to Magical Kenya is a good time to travel. So I’d just like to encourage our visitors and our trade visitors to continue selling Kenya and we look forward to hosting you as a destination.”