Mackenzie Allison and Peter Ogego, Kenya's ambassador to the U.S.
Let’s face it—with the way the economy is going, that trip to Europe might not be in the cards. The euro is crushing the dollar, and, to put it simply, it is time to start weighing other vacation options. In steps Africa. The destination has always been a popular choice for students abroad or seasoned travelers looking for something new and different—but in the near future, we here at Travel Agent see this becoming a popular option for the everyday traveler.
Africa is a big continent, so let me be more specific: Try Kenya. My geography skills are pretty good, so I could already point Kenya out on a map. I did, however, learn more about the East African country during a recent outing in New York City to promote the destination. What did I learn? Well Kenya, which is bordered by Ethiopia to the north and Tanzania to the south, is a popular option for shopping, beaded crafts and jewelry are popular purchases; the beach scene—several beaches are near Mombasa, the second-largest city in Kenya; and monetary reasons, the Kenyan shilling pales in comparison to the U.S dollar or euro. All this was good to hear, but I won’t lie; the East African country hit a bit of a snag earlier this year with political turmoil—but it appears to be bouncing back rapidly. In fact, this hiccup didn’t seem to have any bearing on those we encountered during the event. I spoke with representatives of the Kenya Tourist Board who eagerly admitted that although the first quarter of the year was tough, numbers are again beginning to climb. Tangible example: This past July, the country welcomed 10,000 U.S. travelers, only a slight drop in comparison to the 11,000 at that time the previous year.
Peter Boese, senior VPof extreme adventures and space division of Abercrombie & Kent, with Scott Wiseman, president of Abercrombie & Kent
I already listed a few reasons that make this a popular hot spot. However, minus the shopping and lounging on the beach, this is a big draw for adventure travelers. Selling point: Your adventure junkie clients might get their fix with the opportunity to see the Big Five (lion, leopard, buffalo, rhinoceros and elephant). And for those agents who need a starting point for active things to see and do, tour operators such as Abercrombie & Kent offer itineraries to the destination. During the event, we also learned about the company’s “Kenya: Uncharted Frontiers” itinerary. This trip could see your clients exploring the Northern Frontier District’s diverse ecosystems, trekking through the Northern Frontier’s tribal lands, swimming under the waterfalls in Mokogodo Forest and mountain hiking in Desert Rose. Just remember: Europe will always be there, but for now, try something different.
For more on Kenya, visit www.magicalkenya.com.