Kenya will scale up adoption of emerging technologies like block chains, artificial intelligence, big data and drones to boost competitiveness of the tourism sector, officials said on Thursday.
Jonah Orumoi, managing director of Tourism Finance Corporation (TFC), said the government will create a conducive policy and regulatory environment to facilitate uptake of disruptive technologies in travel and hospitality industries.
“The tourism sector is very critical to this country’s economy and we have intensified efforts to leverage on emerging technologies to ensure it is more competitive, profitable and resilient,” said Orumoi.
He spoke during the Africa Tourism Technology and Innovation Forum held in Nairobi that was attended by policymakers, investors, scholars and innovators.
Kenya hosted the first ever tourism and technology innovation forum in the eastern African region amid efforts to revolutionize a sector that contributes an estimated 15 percent to the country’s GDP.
Orumoi said that adoption of disruptive technologies is key to revitalize growth of the travel and hospitality sectors amid fierce competition from other destinations in sub-Saharan Africa.
“By harnessing cutting edge technologies, we will be able to market our destinations to a larger clientele base and enhance bookings,” said Orumoi.
“The use of big data in particular will help players in the tourism industry understand changing consumer preferences,” said Orumoi.
He said the government has partnered with investors and innovators to develop technological solutions that can market unexplored scenic attractions like archaeological sites.
Fred Kaigua, chief executive officer of Kenya Association of Tour Operators (KATO), said investors are keen to tap into new technologies and innovations to boost their revenue streams.
“The tourism sector players are keen to harness opportunities provided by the expanding digital footprint in the country to attract millennial clients who have disposable income,” said Kaigua.