Keeping it Kenyan hosts Julius Owino CEO KCTA
The COVID-19 pandemic has taken the whole world by storm bringing it to a standstill. Just the rest of tour destinations, Kenya heavily relies on this industry to boost its economy. The economic sectors most hard hit is the travel and tourism industry. The outbreak of the disease and its rapid spread across the globe saw heightened uncertainty in the sector as travellers required up-to-date and reliable information before deciding on their next destinations and itineraries. It is on this backdrop that Keeping it Kenyan, the premier show of Mombasa Magazine podcast, the audio platform of Mombasa Magazine hosted Mr. Julius Owino – CEO of Kenya Coast Tourism Association to discuss on issues and success of the season.
Keeping It Kenya: What are the benefits of the tourism industry to the coastal communities?
Julius Owino: For the coast people, tourism is the backbone that everything else tags on. For every tourist who visits Kenya, one direct and ready job is created. The more the tourists come, the more the jobs are available to the people. Therefore, tourism is a driver of jobs, opportunities and ideas that benefit the people. Beyond the direct jobs, there are indirect opportunities that come along the supply chain. We have seen infrastructure being built in favor of the people, to support them directly and indirectly.
Keeping It Kenya: We have seen the devastating challenges since Covid-19 hit the market, what innovation has so far happened to mitigate the challenges?
Julius Owino: Indeed Kenyans are a resilient people, and innovation is what we do when we face challenges. As KCTA, our members have come up with virtual meeting spaces in the hotels to support say for example the legal industry. Since the shutting down of law courts and going virtual for all court cases, lawyers have been using some of our facilities to engage in virtual court sessions, we also have included the use of some of our facilities for quarantine at the onset of the pandemic. Lastly, we took time to rebrand the coast for our tourists. We recently launched new branding for the coastal tourism corridor to parts that previously were not so popular with tourists. Kenya Tourism Board alongside other stakeholders have been in support for a rejuvenated campaign to market the corridor more than just white sand and sunny beaches. Corona has been a pandemic, but we choose to learn from it.
Keeping It Kenya: How is the rebrand going?
Julius Owino: Our citizens, our travellers will enjoy the new brands we have, the new mission and collective strategies we have in place to ensure that they enjoy the most from the coast. The actual work and rebranding is taking place now, now that we rebranded just last week. We are amplifying the customer experience to ensure that theirs is a memorable journey in Lamu, Taita Taveta, Tana River, Diani in Kwale and Mombasa. We will use influencers more, engage with our visitors in more activities than what was previously offered. I urge our patrons to keep it posted to our sites, our hotels and our digital handles. We promise an experience like no other.
For more about the interview, the podcast will be launched on our website this week. You can share your views or questions which will be answered directly by the CEO of KCTA.