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22 August 2017 , 2:05 pm

Maximising travel business in a post election environment

Industry leaders share their insights into boosting the industry’s growth for the rest of the year

With 2017 being an election year, business has been robust and Kenyans continue to travel all over the world for business and leisure. The tourism sector has been on an upward trajectory in the first quarter of 2017 with the growth expected to shrug off election period, traditionally a low season for the sector. The sector has been recording improvement in the past two years after it was hard hit by insecurity especially after the Westgate Mall attack in September 2013.

According to Wausi Walya, Public Relations and Corporate Communications Manager at the Kenya Tourism Board, “Tour operators and Hoteliers are reporting full capacity in terms of business through the months of July and August”. Tourism was the best performer in the first quarter of 2017, recording a growth of 15.8 per cent from 10.4 per cent in the previous first quarter of 2016.

Mohammed Wanyoike, Group CEO of FCM Travel Solutions and Chairman of KATA

Mohammed Wanyoike, Group CEO of FCM Travel Solutions and more importantly, the Chairman of Kenya Association of Travel Agents (KATA) gives us insights on how best to maximize business growth post-elections. Mohammed’s role as Group CEO of FCM, is to provide strategic direction and monitor the group operations in Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda and South Sudan. As KATA Chairman, together with his Board Members, he has positioned the Association as a leading authority on travel trade in Kenya with a mission to champion and sustain growth of travel industry.

Mohammed notes that while growth in business volumes has been rather flat, this has largely been due to the effects of the downturn in the agricultural sector informed by severe drought that was experienced in the last one year.

During an election year, businesses experience prolonged periods of uncertainty, he mentions that, uncertainty notwithstanding clients continue to travel without reservation. Remember that Kenya has become a very strong business hub for East and Central Africa for many multinationals. Travel agencies have not experienced any significant cancellations of planned travel including several large meetings, which they and other Travel Trade partners have hosted for corporates in Nairobi, with delegates coming in from all over the world.

He continues to add that for travel agents to build a strong, robust strategy during the election period, they should remain focused and operate business as usual as travel agents continue to provide excellent services to their clients.

Mathieu Dutrisac, General Manager at Amadeus East Africa commented that firstly; travel agencies should ensure that operations do not stop merely due to the fact that staff are absent from the office. Secondly, travel agencies should have efficient sales forecasting and planning taken into account during the election period to minimize losses.

Lastly, to ensure business continuity, travel agencies have a range of solutions that allow them to work from anywhere. Solutions such as Amadeus Sell Connect allow travel agencies to service customers from anywhere while managers and business owners can monitor operations remotely via a host of mid-back office solutions that Amadeus has made available.

Emphasising these sentiments, The Cabinet Secretary for Ministry of Tourism, Najib Balala notes that tourism stakeholders should consider offering Kenyan-friendly packages to encourage more Kenyans to experience the beauty the country has to offer in order to mitigate any concerns that may be felt internationally.

As Travel agents or industry players, do you have any recommendations or thoughts? We would like to hear your opinion.

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This post was written by Amadeus Africa Team

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