Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) has announced that the Magical Kenya Travel Expo (MKTE) 2023 will not take place this year. The board said this in an email communication five hours ago to industry stakeholders. This year’s event would have been the board’s thirteenth since the annual travel event came into existence. The event has lived through several cancellations. In 2020, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, MKTE 2020 never happened. The following year, stakeholders had to settle for a virtual event.

This year, the Magical Kenya Travel Expo 2023 will pave the way for the third edition of the East African Regional Tourism Expo (EARTE). The much bigger regional travel fair brings together member states from the East African Community (EAC) in a showcase of the region’s diverse tourism offering. The expo will take place from 17 to 21 November 2023, in Nairobi.

In July 2021, EAC wildlife and tourism ministers approved the East African Community Tourism Marketing Strategy for the 2021-2025 period. The strategy spells out activities aimed towards positioning and marketing the region as a leading sustainable tourism destination in Africa. EARTE, which is held on a rotational basis by EAC member states is one such activity. The United Republic of Tanzania (URT) hosted the first EARTE in October 2021 in Arusha. In September 2022 in Bujumbura, the Republic of Burundi hosted the second edition. Since its inception, EARTE has realised the following impacts:

Promotion of East African Tourism

EARTE serves as a platform for promoting East African tourism on a regional and international scale. It highlights the natural beauty, cultural heritage, wildlife, and adventure opportunities that East Africa has to offer. By showcasing these attractions, EARTE attracts attention and interest from potential tourists, travel agents, and tour operators.

Business Networking and Collaboration

EARTE provides a networking opportunity for tourism businesses and professionals. It allows them to connect with each other, exchange ideas, and explore potential collaborations. This leads to the formation of strategic partnerships, joint ventures, and the development of new tourism products and services in the region.

Market Expansion and Increased Revenue

The expo contributes to the expansion of the East African tourism market by attracting international buyers, investors, and travel agents. This exposure helps to increase the number of visitors to the region, resulting in higher revenue for the tourism industry. It also opens up opportunities for local businesses to access new markets and increase their customer base.

Knowledge Sharing and Capacity Building

EARTE hosts seminars, workshops, and panel discussions on various topics related to tourism development, sustainability, marketing strategies, and industry trends. This facilitates knowledge sharing and capacity building among tourism professionals. Participants gain valuable insights and learn best practices that can be implemented to enhance the quality of tourism services in the region.

Cultural Exchange and Community Development

The event promotes cultural exchange by showcasing the rich cultural heritage of East Africa. It provides a platform for local communities to exhibit their traditions, crafts, music, and cuisine. This helps foster cultural understanding and appreciation. Additionally, the expo generates employment opportunities for the local community through the provision of goods and services required for the event.

Tourism Sector Collaboration and Advocacy

EARTE encourages collaboration among East African countries to jointly promote the region as a tourist destination. This collaboration helps in addressing common challenges, advocating for policy reforms, and creating a favourable environment for tourism growth. By working together, the countries can leverage their collective strengths and overcome barriers to tourism development.

KTB has indicated that it will share more details on the regional expo with industry members in due course.