Artemis Kenya +254 20 231 5530

+254 20 231 5530
Tue, 9th Aug 2022

"A (tourist) destination, like most consumer delights, is not something you buy; it is sold to you; for this reason,there is a direct relationship  between how much a country spends marketing the destination, and the number of tourist arrivals it receives" - Charles Karwega, CEO, ARTEMIS Transition Partners and Chief Judge at the Kenya Tourism Awards. 

China, Mexico and Malaysia obtain 47, 22, and 16 million visitors annually, making them among the world’s leading destinations for long-haul tourists.  In Africa, Egypt and South Africa are the leading long-haul tourist destinations with 15 and 12 million visitors annually respectively.

Tourism is important for many African economies. In Egypt, tourism earns the country over USD 1.2 billion annually and employs 12.5% of the country’s labour, while in South Africa it contributes 3.1% of GDP.

In Kenya, even with just 1.3 million visitors annually, tourism is the second largest contributor to GDP after agriculture, at 2.7% contributing just under Ksh. 100 billion (USD 1.17B) and employing 11% of the country’s labour.

This is what makes Kenya aim to be among the top ten long-haul tourist destinations globally by the year 2030.

Tourism is generally an important source of government revenue in the form of taxes, duties, license fees, entry fees and others levies and is also vastly interlinked with other sectors in the economy.  It is highly profitable, and an important source of foreign exchange, otherwise obtainable from trade and foreign direct investment.  The industry has nonetheless to deal with various challenges that considerably mitigate its potential:

  • Underinvestment in marketing More
  • In the year 2012, Kenya’s tourism industry earned USD 1.17 billion against the USD 9 allocated to the Kenya Tourist Board for marketing tourism internationally.

    In the year 2012, the Republic of South Africa, using a research-based strategy to choose the markets it will invest in, based on core, investment, tactical and watch list markets spent: R407,144 ,000 (USD 41.4 million) on international marketing, R50,000,000 (USD 5 million) in Africa marketing  and R40,000,000 (USD 4 million) on domestic marketing, from which it obtained 11.5 million tourists, and USD 2.8B.

    Using the industry’s ten-year performance data, funding the Kenya Tourist Board (KTB) at Ksh. 10B (USD 120M), would increase tourist arrivals to over 8 million, and tourism revenues to over 600B (USD 7.1B).

    This would have a tremendous knock-on effect on the national economy given the industry’s impact on government revenue in the form of taxes, duties, license fees, entry fees and other charges, the industry’s capacity to stimulate demand for locally-produced goods and services, as well as its ability to promote regional development and the distribution of income.

  • Product development More
  • Currently, Kenya’s tourism product is largely beach and wildlife, and predominantly from the USA and continental Europe, though China, Asia and the middle-East have steadily been growing too.

    Diversification of the county’s tourism source markets as well as development of domestic tourism could strengthen the sector and make it more competitive.  The increasing diversification of source markets will be served better if the industry can match such diversification with appropriate product development.

    The Republic of South Africa, for example, targets to obtain 15 million international arrivals by the year 2020.  To achieve this, one of the areas that South Africa is focusing on is the business events industry, in which it has already secured over 200 international conferences, to run over the next five years, bringing to South Africa 300 000 delegates and earning the country an estimated USD 159 million.

    In the year 2011, South Africa had 392 000 business travellers, of which 140 000 were Meetings Incentive Conference and Events (MICE) delegates.  According to international trends 35-40% of business travellers to any destination are MICE delegates.

    The global potential for business meeting and conferences is immense.  In 2011, 10 000 Association meetings rotated worldwide.  6,500 of these were regional meetings (European, American, Asian and African Associations) and 3,500 were International Associations meetings.

    Africa hosted only 304 (3%) of these meetings, mostly international Association meetings, with South Africa hosting only 86 and still managing to rank 37th globally as a conference and business meeting destination.

    While beach and wildlife tourism will likely maintain their positions in the product profile, even the  traditional source markets would yield more with increased local product development.

    While there continues to exist the need to develop performance in different segments of tourism, development of property and service quality standards  is also a key area of concern.  For some time now, underinvestment by investors in tourism, coupled with fluid government and industry policies on the classification of properties has led to a steady growth of budget tourism, which is not particularly desirable.

    Improved policy guidelines, segmentation and product differentiation should ideally realise the industry's growth within a planned mix of high-end tourism, budget tourism, and domestic tourism.

    In Kenya, if more counties in the devolved system of government, for example, should focus on tourism as a key development area, the country’s tourism product has potential for vast diversification.  This will, in the short-term, boost domestic tourism and in the long-term complement traditional beach, wildlife and conference tourism through the development of ecotourism, cultural tourism, sports tourism, and other advancements in thematic tourism.

    Closely related to product development is the need to develop physical infrastructure related to the tourism experience, including roads to, within and around parks and other other tourism destinations.

  • Environmental sustainability More
  • Tourism in Africa is for the largest part nature-based, and this makes environmental sustainability a key concern for the industry.

    Concern for environmental sustainability in tourism relates in particular to concern for the preservation of ecosystems and wildlife habitats, water sources, and the concern for various other environmental factors that impact on the tourism exerience.

    Resource-based human-wildlife conflict, encroachment of wild-life habitats, and the proliferation of developments within parks and national reserves, however, threatens the sustainability of of tourism in many African countries.

    Threats to environmental sustainability are in addition to a growing concern for poaching and illegal game hunting, destruction of natural environments and habitats through industrial waste disposal and other instances of poor waste managment, and inadequate investment in environmental restoration.

    Apart from the need for stringent government policies relating to sustainable tourism, the tourism industry must itself pursue self-regulation mechanisms, and a collective responsibility for environmental sustainability within its stakeholders.

  • Human resource development More
  • One of the leading differentiators of East African as a tourist destination is the quality of service.  Staff to guest ratios in the region are incomparably higher than they are in most parts other parts of the world, which translates to better service and more personalised attention.

    Staff to Room Ratio, for example, can range all the way from 3:1 (3 full time staff for every room available) in East Africa, through a ratio of 2:1 in developing countries like China, India,and in the Middle East, to less than 1:1 in developed countries like the US, UK, Canada and Australia.  Added to this capacity for service delivery, the friendly, helpful and inviting culture of East Africa has been a strong differentiator of the region's tourism product.

    For a long time, the Kenya Utalii College in Nairobi has produced highly qualified technical staff for the hospitality industry across Africa.  Proliferation of tourism training institutions that are not adequately resourced in terms of the necessary capital investment and faculty, or even  adequately regulated, however, threatens to reverse the quality of personnel in the industry, and the service they are able to deliver.

    The push for advanced degrees in tourism and hospitality driven by the competitive job market forces also threatens to rob the industry of hands-on career hoteliers, on who the industry has for so long depended for the distinguished performance it has achieved.

    These and other factors call for review of policy and industry approaches to education, training and and human resource development in the hospitality industry.

We work with the hospitality industry in several areas, including the following:

  • Strategy More
  • Through our well developed competencies in Strategy,  we have developed growth, development and sustainability strategies at different levels within the hospitality industry, through which our clients have been able to achieve different performance objectives.

  • Learning and development More
  • Staff training is an absolutely critical success factor in the hospitality industry.  Building on our extensive work in Learning and Development, we have developed tailored solutions for the hospitality industry around the following:

    • Graduate development programmes
    • Management skills development
    • Supervisory skills development
    • Training of trainers
  • Performance management More
  • Management of performance particularly within the hotel industry is an area in which we have developed considerable capabilities.  Our work in this area has specifically focused on the following:

    • development of operating standards
    • development of role performance standards
    • development of perforamnce evaluation criteria



Economic impact of travel and tourism

Tourism is an important contributor to economic performance across the world given its vast implications for other sectors of the economy.


Kenya Government Strategic Plan for the development of Tourism

To advance the country's interests in tourism, the Government of Kenya maintains a dedicated Ministry, The Ministry of Tourism, charged with the responsibility of formulating tourism policy and coordinating the implementation of strategies aimed at developing the tourism sector.


Promoting Quality and brand standards in hotel accommodation

VisitEngland is the national tourist board for England, responsible for marketing England to domestic and established overseas markets and for improving England's tourism product.  In this brief, VisitEngland puts together the country’s brand promise based on hotel accommodation quality standards.


AA Hotel Quality Standards

AA Hotel Services is a pan-Britain assessing organisation that since 1912 has administered a star rating scheme recognising and rewarding establishments for the quality and range of their services and facilities.  As the British Hospitality Association’s Patron Supplier for quality rating and assessment to the hospitality industry, AA Hotel Services is a respected star rating agency across the UK and in other parts of the world.


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