The Kenyan High Commissioner for Nigeria, Dr. Wilfred Machage, has expressed Kenya’s interest in working closely with Nigeria in the areas of tourism and hospitality.
The envoy also deplored the stagnation of intra-African trade by 15% in recent years compared to the levels in Europe and Asia, which are around 69 and 59 percent respectively.
Dr. Machage made the remarks on Wednesday while delivering a keynote address at the ongoing Lagos International Trade Fair.
He pointed out that the time has come to turn the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) from a dream into a reality by promoting intra-African trade.
“We have a lot of experience, especially in eco-tourism and beach tourism, where we have been able to work with Nigeria on exchange programs.
“Last year alone, 14,918 Nigerians visited Kenya, which is an encouraging number. Now, for our part, we are looking at how we can increase that number by working with our partners to organize promotional activities like this one today.
“We will also be working with tour operators and other relevant stakeholders to improve the visitor experience in Kenya,” he added.
He noted that Kenya ranks fourth in terms of the total number of world visitors to Africa, after Seychelles and Mauritius with South Africa at the top.
“In the last year alone, Kenya, despite the challenging context of COVID 19, welcomed over 500,000 visitors who chose Kenya as their favorite leisure and travel destination.
“For us in Kenya our economy is an agro-based economy and tourism is the second most popular source of our foreign exchange income, so the government has invested heavily in developing the tourism industry in Kenya.
“As a sign of commitment to making the tourism industry more vibrant, Kenya has developed the National Tourism Blueprint (NTB) 2030, which aims to guide and accelerate the development of the tourism sector in the country.
“The strategy has key factors such as the growth of the flight strategy and the development of modern meeting, international conference and exhibition (MICE) facilities that will fuel the growth of tourism across the continent. If these enablers are well developed in cooperation with other member countries, they will accelerate the growth of tourism on the African continent. “
Kenya’s favorable business environment and strong economy have enabled many companies to reduce their operating costs and thus increase their profit margins.
Dr. Marchage praised the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry for its active and credible role as the only leading private sector committed to improving the business environment and connecting business groups and partners with their Nigerian counterparts.
The fair with the theme: “Connecting Business, Creating Value” hosts over 200 foreign exhibitors from several countries around the world and around 500,000 visitors