Under the new act, KTB will operate as the Kenya Tourism Board with an expanded mandate of domestic, regional and international role of tourism marketing and promotion. The board is required to develop, coordinate and implement national tourism marketing strategy, identify tourism market needs and trends and advice the tourism industry stakeholders. KTB has changed the face of tourism in Kenya through its popular website: www.Magicalkenya.com. The parastatal has reached out to millions of both local and international tourists who can now easily chose where to visit once in Kenya, and the mode of transport to use through its destination updates. In 2011, Magical Kenya introduced many products, including Kiswahili language tutorials for foreign tourists.
Among the notable achievements by the parastatal is the introduction of the Tembea Kenya (Sample Kenya) package, which is popular with foreign tourists seeking to learn basic Kiswahili words. Kenya was among the countries that exhibited at the prestigious annual World Travel Market exhibition in London. The fourday business event gives exhibitors an opportunity to showcase their range of offerings to the UK and international travel professionals. Exhibitors also gain immediate competitive advantage for their business and stay abreast with the latest developments in the travel industry. KTB in partnership with the Kenya Flower Council and Maasai Arts Organisation, also played a crucial role in Britain’s Royal wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton on April 20, 2011.
On the morning of the wedding day, 13,000 fresh roses handpicked from Flamingo Farm in Naivasha, were handed out to commuters by a group of Maasais in traditional wear at London Bridge, Waterloo, Liverpool Street and Kings Cross underground stations. National, trade and lifestyle UK media also received a bouquet of roses each. A card highlighting Kenya’s offerings as a romantic destination as endorsed by Prince William when he proposed to Kate Middleton in October, 2010, on Mt Kenya, was attached to each rose. The bride and groom also included on their wedding gift list the ‘Save the Black Rhino’ project in Kenya as one of the charities close to their hearts. The Kenya Tourist Board, through its Magical Kenya programme, has been promoting popular international events in the country. Some of these key events include:
The Maralal Camel Derby
It’s the only one of its kind in the country and is popular with tourists because of its uniqueness. It involves riding racing camels, trained to compete for top honours. This is Kenya’s best known and most prestigious camel race, which attracts both local and international competitors.
Lewa Downs, a private ranch and rhino conservation area, hosts this marathon every June. The race gives participants an opportunity to experience the Kenyan wild. Participants run within the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, a protected 55,000-acre game reserve and home of more than 80 rhinos. Lewa is located at an altitude of 5,500 feet above sea level. The race is organised by Tusk Trust and Lewa Wildlife Conservancy in conjunction with Safaricom, in support of conservation and community projects in the Lewa/Il Ngwesi area. Lewa is in north central Kenya, a four-hour drive and a 45-minute flight from Nairobi. The marathon is run on dirt roads, over a 42- kms route (21 kms for the half-marathon), through some of the world’s most beautiful scenery. Its picturesque setting makes the marathon all the more worthwhile, with Mt Kenya to the south and Samburu and Mt Lololokwe to the north. The Lewa conservancy protects six per cent of the country’s population of endangered black rhino, and 20 per cent of the world’s population of rare and endangered Grevy’s Zebra
The Rhino Charge
June is the month for the Rhino Charge. This unique off-road car rally held every year to raise money for the construction of a perimeter fence around the Aberdare National Park.