“The Bride & Groom Expo has definitely been good value for money for us,” said Betty Addero Radier, the chief executive officer, Kenya Tourism Board (KTB)
The number of Ugandans going to Kenya for holiday and especially weddings has more than doubled in the last two years.
Speaking to the press at the sidelines of the 8th edition of Magical Kenya Travel Expo (MKTE) in Nairobi last week, Betty Addero Radier, the chief executive officer, Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) said they had leveraged the popularity of weddings in Uganda to boost the number of Ugandans going to hold weddings and honey moons in Kenya.
"When people hold weddings in Uganda, it is a big affair. Ever since #TugendeKenya (a Kenyan consumer campaign aimed to position Kenya as the destination of choice for Ugandans not only for business but also for leisure, shopping and special occasions such as weddings) through which we subsequently got involved with Vision Group's Bride & Groom for the past two years, we have seen the number of people coming to Kenya for wedding-related activities leap from 25,000 to 54,000 in a period of two years," Addero said.
Now in its 10th year, Vision Group's Bride & Groom Expo Uganda is East Africa's largest wedding expo, bringing together both service providers and consumers in the wedding industry with over 10,000 people visiting Uganda Manufacturer's Association exhibition (UMA) hall to experience this unique event. KTB is a sponsor.
Addero said that some Kenyan resorts have reported between 50-100 bookings in weddings in a year, after taking part in the exhibition.
"The Bride & Groom Expo has definitely been good value for money for us," she remarked.
Uganda is Kenya's third largest source market for tourists after the USA and the United Kingdom.
Besides the safaris, the 500km Kenyan coastline that stretches from Lamu in the North through Malindi, Watamu and Mombasa is a favourite destination for many Ugandan fun lovers because of its stunning sandy beaches, rich cultural heritage, rare marine life, a multitude of activities and sunny weather.
MKTE, which ran between October 3 and October 5 at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC) is East Africa's largest travel show, offering ideal platform for Business-to-Business meetings between leading African products and top-producing global buyers.
It featured 185 exhibitors (up from 140 that participated last year) with 150 hosted buyers.
It is an opportunity to access a gathering of Africa's tourism leaders, policy makers, global buyers, international as well as local media.
Fiona Ngesa, assistant regional manager, KTB, who also coordinates their involvement in the Bride & Groom Expo, said Ugandans travel to Kenya for holiday followed by business and conferences, mainly in Nairobi.
One of the contributing factors for the growth was a consumer campaign in Uganda from March to June last year that generated 15 million impressions on social network platforms of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram under the campaign dubbed ‘Tugende Kenya' spearheaded to interest more Ugandans in visiting Kenya.
"An East Africa media familiarisation trip undertaken in April 2016 under Midterm strategic Plan (MSP) created a lot of interest and awareness and a Return on Investment (ROI) of approximately Ksh14m(about sh500m). The Kenya coast is also highly favoured for relaxation while Nairobi remains popular for business, shopping and social scenes," Dr Radier explains.
Kenya Tourism board (KTB) recently appointed Ugandan singer Edyy Kenzo as their ambassador.
"It's a great honour and opportunity I have been given to promote the homage, culture, beauty, natural resource, infrastructure and tourism in general of my other mother country Kenya. Under the campaign Take a break," he posted.
Addero defended the decision saying Ugandans contribute a lot to the percentage of East African tourists visiting Kenya. She said that the singer has a wide social following and thus the decision to use him was made.
Eddy Kenzo will head KTB's "Tugende Kenya" campaign which is aimed at promoting east Africans to visit Kenya.
UTB has a budget in the range of sh15b, which when compared to KTB's sh168b, is peanuts.
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