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E-Tourism Conference Comes To a Close
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Report Compiled By: Lucy Morangi
Experience Kenya News Team
Wednesday, 16th October 2008

The much anticipated e- tourism conference came to a close with pomp and color amidst appreciation from stakeholders in Nairobi.  The two days conference brought into the fore the importance of new media as a leading marketing tool for players in the tourism sector and those who disregard it will lose out. 

Players in the sector who have not incorporated the new marketing tools especially the internet risk missing out on a vast pool of travelers who log onto the internet for their holiday and other travel solutions.

Mr. Damian Cook, the Managing Director of E-tourism Africa, told participants that travelers are gradually relying on the internet to get information on destinations, to book trips, and even pay for them.

He said travelers were mainly using word of mouth and websites that bring travelers together and allow them to blog on various destinations.

Reviews and blogs on social networks like Expedia, Microsoft, Google, Trip Advisor, Digital Visitor, Eviivo, New Mind and WAYN (Where Are You Now?) are some of the leading sources of trusted information and no longer brochures.

However Kenya, as well as all other destinations in Africa other than South Africa, is losing out due to lack of content on the internet to sell themselves and their products.

In addition to content, destinations in the region are lagging behind due to lack of laws that allow for e-commerce.

The conference discussed traveler’s tendencies of looking for a one stop shop where they can book and pay for products on line. However, the laws in Kenya do not allow for e- commerce, hindering the growth of transacting online and e-tourism in the country.

The conference is part of a pan African initiative meant to help the continent’s tourism sector to understand the importance of the internet and opportunities available in using new media to market products. The first conference was held last month in South Africa, which received positive response from players in the Southern African region.

Next year the conferences will be held in Cairo, Egypt and Accra, Ghana. They will culminate in a Pan-African conference to be held in Johannesburg in 2009.

The Nairobi conference has brought together various players in the sector, including online and digital experts like Expedia, Microsoft and WAYN, leading social network for travelers, among others.

It attracted delegates from neighboring other countries like Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda and Ethiopia.

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