If you take a little bit of time and drive around on our south coast you will see and feel : Our South Coast Tourism is dead !!
Many hotels are closed, restaurants empty, curio shops without clients and ( most significant ) you always get a parking place at Nakumatt Diani. Meanwhile thousands of hotel workers have lost their jobs and heading into a hopeless future together with their families and relatives.
It´s not only the rain season – by far not. The tourist bookings for the time as of July are shocking low and no sign of hope anywhere. It’s not a joke – we have to face it – our Kwale County has lost its most important source of employment. All efforts of our Governor and his team to compensate this downfall with agriculture projects and/or new industrialization will not compensate the many thousand jobs lost.
The question is : What to do now ?
There is an old worldly wisdom saying: “ When you have struggled, accept it as a signal that your plans are wrong, rebuild those plans, and set sail once more toward your coveted goal.” That should be our direction. Accepting that our Kwale Tourism strategy and set-up is wrong. Accepting that our Kwale Tourism Goals are wrong. Accepting that our Kwale Tourism people in charge are wrong.
We have to push our Governor Salim Mvurya to act now !!!! Please clean the table – Fire your current team in charge – Start fresh !!!
But how ?
To answer this question we have to look first to our Kwale County Tourists . Who are they ? From which Country are they coming ? Which age ? What are they Looking for ? Believe it or not it is very easy. The official statistic figures are showing a clear picture. It’s clear that:
1) Over 80% of our Tourists are coming from Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, Netherlands, France and UK.
2) Over 75% of our tourists are combining Beach Holidays with Safari experience
3) Over 65% of our tourists are between 25 and 55 in age ( the facebook generation )
4) Over 79% are staying 14 nights or longer
and most important
5) Over 60% of our tourists are Repeater – means they love our county, our hotels, our beach, our restaurant and our people !!!!!!
That’s our basis and it´s a great one. Thousands and Thousands of South Coast Loving Tourists are out there ready to come, enjoy their holiday and spend their money here in Kwale.
Only they are not coming these days – Why ?
The second fundamentals we have to listen to is “ Customer Satisfaction “ . What it means is that WE have to meet their expectations. WE have to make sure we preparing for them a super holiday. WE have to listen to them and need to understand what they want and what they don’t want. This is happening everywhere. Safaricom does it, Nakumatt does it, Toyota does it, BMW does it, Microsoft does it and Apple does it. Every professional customer oriented company does it.
Only our County Government is NOT doing it !!
Listening to customer needs has nothing to do with losing our cultural and Kenyan identity. We don´t need to become like Tourists. But if we want them to feel good and come to Kwale again and again – WE have to be ready to make sometimes adaptations.
Our County Tourism set-up is not “Customer Orientated” – they don’t understand what are the necessary home works we have to do to. They should put themselves in the shoes of our clients. In the shoes of our Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, Netherlands, France and UK tourists. All plans and programs should be customer driven. Unfortunately they are not – or – they are not executed.
We have a clear vision on how to move forward which needs the will to change what we have and the courage to go what is needed. Here are our 4 most important ideas:
1) We need a new Tourism Minister who can flagship our Kwale Tourism Community
The position should be driven by a minister who understands foreign tourists needs and interests on one hands and the conference tourism on the other hand. We need a dynamic flag bearer who burns for Kwale and the tourism business. A men or a woman who feels a t home in the Kenyan culture AND in the European cultures.
2) We need a new empowered Tourism Steering Committee
This should be stuffed with hotel and resort manager from the coast who can provide Tourist needs. Also in there should be Tour-Operators to streamline our Safari offering. We need also environmental specialists, Kwale small business representatives, tourist police, workers Union and and and….. We have to bring the industry together !!!!
3) We need a Kwale Tourist Service Center in Diani Beach
This is where the Minister should have his office together with the tourist police – right in the center of our Tourists. A 24/7 office with gentle service employees who could inform and help our clients ( Tourists ). It could also be the Steering Committee meeting point.
4) We have to create a Kwale Tourism “ Good News “ Marketing Center
In our discussions with the European KTB ( Kenya Tourism Board ) Companies we have noticed that there is a big chance for good news to be published. For that we need a team of journalists who create content – good articles and good pictures. This team should be located locally – maybe also in the Kwale Tourist Service Center.
It’s time to wake up. At this moment where we are suffering most it is our chance to stand up and come back stronger than before. Let’s summon the death of our current South Coast Tourism for a moment – but then – let’s give birth to a new, young, dynamic, modern and fresh Tourism approach to show our clients from Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, Netherlands, France and UK that we are still the best…..
….. otherwise we have to publish this !!!!