The 9th Magical Kenya Travel Expo (MKTE) came to a close today after 3 days of highly engaging events that saw over 200 exhibitors from Africa showcase their products to over 150 global buyers from Kenya’s 25 key source markets.
While all these engagements were going on, the Treasures of Kenya market served MKTE visitors in the courtyard with a wide assortment of artefacts that offered everyone a chance to own a piece of Kenya.
The market is managed by Heavenly Treasures Kenya, a registered not-for-profit organisation whose mother organisation has been supporting refugees, single mothers, widows, the physically disabled and women and children rescued from human trafficking across 17 countries in the world since 1998. In Kenya, the organisation supports the micro-enterprise network through the production and fair trade of handicrafts. It also provides spiritual nourishment.
The products ranged from wooden bowls, wooden carvings, soapstone, recycled brass jewellery, bead jewellery, aluminium frames, recycled metal animals, batik and oil paintings, tie-dye scarves, bracelets, Maasai sandals, shukas, djembe drums, kitenge products, jewellery boxes, t-shirts, sisal bags, and silver jewellery.
The expo which had a strong focus on innovation as a vehicle to deliver authentic and memorable experiences took a slight departure from tradition by incorporating destination specialists who took hosted buyers through the trends and research on some of the key source markets for Kenya including the UK, China, North America, Europe, India, and Africa.
Experiential seminars that were offered on each day of the expo brought home the elusive reality that innovation is an unavoidable catalyst in shaping future efforts at delivering authentic and memorable travel experiences.
The role of storytelling in driving the achievement of this experience was equally given its place at MKTE 2019. Local storytellers are an integral part of telling the African story in a way that was meaningful and memorable. But this can only work if the main custodians of tourism who include tourism boards, travel agencies, and accommodation facilities recognise the value of stories and those who tell them in defining this travel experience.
On the last day of MKTE 2019, the role of big data in informing the future of responsible and sustainable tourism was tackled. Data drives a great percentage of decisions today and eco-tourism is no exception. Data allows for sound planning which in turn helps to maintain the delicate balance between profitability and sustainability.
This year, MKTE was targeting to deliver over 5,000 confirmed meetings during the expo through its targeted matchmaking programme. A matchmaking team was on standby at the hosted buyers lounge to help with this in case one needed assistance with their appointments.
Ours with Wego, a travel Search Engine based in Singapore went quite well. Wego operates 52 country sites in over 20 languages and local currencies. The Search Engine displays travel rate results in real-time from over 700 travel sites so users can shop and compare flight and hotel prices available online.
Did you attend MKTE 2018? How do you compare it to MKTE 2019?