Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB) has launched an online payment service to enable electronic tourism take hold, as most bookings and payments are made on the internet.
KCB deputy chief executive, Mr Peter Munyiri, on Thursday said that Kenyan businesses, mostly small, lose millions of shillings because they are unable to use online payment systems.
“Electronic commerce has been booming in the developed world but its uptake in Africa has been slow, because few local financial institutions have implemented online payments solutions, partly due to legislation and initial costs,” he said.
The bank is working with online payment service provider, Nights Bridge, which provides connectivity to worldwide hotels on top travel websites and agents.
“This real-time booking and payment abilities will enable us to collect, switch and authorize financial transactions originating from the internet,” Mr Munyiri said.
E-Tourism Frontiers chief executive, Damian Cook, said the online payment service will allow both online transactions and real-time reservations; the two vital ingredients needed for the future of tourism across East Africa.
He said 95 per cent of travellers visit the internet as their primary source of information.
“Travellers are looking for a place they can book and pay online real time,” Mr Cook said. “They do not want to send an enquiry for you to get back and the moment you tell them to wait you have lost them.”
Tourism minister, Najib Balala, asked those involved in the sector to use social networks and channels to promote businesses and create platforms for tourists to share their experiences in Kenya.
The service was launched at Crowne Plaza Hotel during an E-tourism East Africa Conference.