By Varsha Bansal - HYDERABAD
24th January 2013 09:07 AM
What is the first thing that comes to one’s mind when they think of Africa? Forest reserves, wildlife, or maybe, Night Safari? However, Africa, or Kenya specifically has a lot more to offer other than wildlife, according to John Chirchir, regional marketing manager, Kenya Tourism Board (KTB). He was in the city on Wednesday for a Road Show that was organised by the KTB. Explaining a little more about the road show, John says, “This year we have organised this road show in three cities — Hyderabad being one of them. According to our statistics, India is in the fifth position for contributing towards Kenyan tourism and we are hoping that through these road shows, it can easily go up to the fourth or third position.”
And, according to John, Hyderabad is a city full of opportunities for them. He shares, “Hyderabad is a city with a lot of potential, which we are trying to tap through this road show. The city has direct flights to Mumbai, Delhi and also the Middle Eastern countries, which makes it easier for the people from this city to travel to Kenya. So, we see opportunities in this city.”
John further talks about an online training programme for tour operators. “It is open to all the tour operators across India and they can log on to www.travelbizmonitor.com/NewEvents/kenya/intropage.aspx, for more details.”
Running marathons in Kenya
So, what are the major attractions in Kenya, which will drag people from their cities and countries and travel to this wildlife destination? To which John points out, “Kenya is always known as a wildlife destination. But, there is more to the place than that. It is a place full of adventure sports, water sports, unique restaurants, and it also has a great night life with various night clubs that are coming up.”
John explains that Kenya has a variety of adventure and water sports like mountain climbing, underwater diving, swimming with the dolphins, deep sea fishing, among others. But, what is unique to Kenya are the athletic competitions which are tailored for tourists. He explains, “There are various athletic competitions organised for tourists. One such example would be the Safari marathon — organised in a wildlife conservation, where the tourists can run and also enjoy the wildlife — while they are running, they might end up spotting a Zebra or a Giraffe.” But wouldn’t that be dangerous? “Not at all. There are no predatory animals.”
Eating with a Giraffe
While there is no such cuisine as African cuisine in particular, it is the African food experience that makes it unique. Explains John, “There is no such thing as African food, but it’s more like an African experience. We serve a variety of food — right from meat to sea-food. But, tourists will remember the food because of the way it is cooked or served.” As an example to the same, John talks about a restaurant with animals in it. “There is a restaurant here which has a lot of animals like tortoise and giraffe. And while one eats there, they can expect a giraffe to come in and probably steal a banana or something from their table. It’s not dangerous, and contributes to a unique experience. They can also feed the giraffe if they want to,” he adds. But, are there any options for vegetarians? “Yes. We have a very strong presence of the Indian community in Kenya — because of this, there are a lot of Indian restaurants, Jain restaurants and also restaurants that serve Halal meat.”
Apart from food, another important aspect of a vacation would be shopping. Though Kenya can’t compete with Dubai when it comes to malls, brands and shopping, it does have some prospects for shopping. “Kenya has some villages, which portray the culture of the people from this place. And when it comes to shopping, tourists can choose from various carvings, paintings, fabrics and semi-precious stones, which will probably be unique to this place,” says John.
A trip to Kenya for about a week would perhaps cost around Rs 1,07000, excluding airfare.
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