Study tours are a prerequisite for development

Editor, RE: “Kenyans have seen where the tourism winds are blowing” (The New Times, Feb 28)


RE:Kenyans have seen where the tourism winds are blowing” (The New Times, Feb 28)

One of the reasons study tours are so valuable is exactly that you can learn a lot from just seeing how others are dealing with challenges you face on a regular basis.

Our industry associations would do very well by just organising tours for their members to visit their counterparts in the region and exchange their experiences on the challenges they encounter and some of the solutions they have applied to them.

As for those who focus almost exclusively on overseas tourists for their business, it was noting that in the countries with the most successful tourism sectors, internal tourism is usually the largest and most thriving component of the market. Overseas visitors and their contribution is just an add-on.

As in many things, we Africans have this unfortunate tendency to focus so much on the silver we might earn from afar that we often forget the gold lying just under our feet.

We spend so much time complaining about markets far away not being open to our products and services and expend an inordinate amount of energy to break into those faraway markets.

We often forget that even here in our East Africa there are millions of consumers whose growing numbers and rising incomes could sustain and grow our businesses, if we only paid them greater attention.

Good to remind us.

Mwene Kalinda

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