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BRANDING KENYA: TOURISM PROMOTION GOES MUSICAL

Anto-Neosoul - Actor and Singer

Unknown to most Kenyans, an out of the ordinary audition in the Kenyan arts and film industry took place at the Kenya National Theatre early this year. The auditions sought to recruit dancers, singers and band members for the first ever All Kenyan Musical Theatre show.  The musical is aimed to market Kenya to the world and will be touring Europe in 2012 with more than 90 shows already booked in the Netherlands, Belgium and Denmark.

The auditions which attracted the media attention, saw hundreds of talented young people in Kenya stream in to try their luck not just for the exciting venture, but the handsome cash reward the select cast would be taking home by the end of the last show.

According to the information given during the auditions for instance, the six weeks training in Nairobi before the Europe tour was to attract an allowance of Sh10,000 each week and the Europe tour was going to be the cash cow for the lucky final cast. Aside from the cash, the greatest opportunity for the cast will of course be the platform to showcase their talents to the world.

THE MAGIC OF KENYA

At the end of July the team of dedicated artists who are going to be our Kenyan ambassadors in the Magic of Kenya Musical was finally unveiled and the faces happened to be familiar in the Kenyan showbiz industry. Most of them have already created a name for themselves in their singing and acting careers but the most outstanding trait they have common is that they are all super talented in their niche’s.

ANOTHER KENYAN REALITY SHOW IN THE MAKING

Charles Ouda - veteran actor

Among them is the melodious Anto-Neosoul, famed for his ‘chips funga’ song and also a co-host of Teen Republic, a TV show on NTV, who will be joined by Amileena Mwenesi (AMI), former Tusker Project Fame 4 finalist, Charles Ouda a renowned Kenyan actor, and Mkamzee Mwatela, another super talented lady and a lead actress in Kenya’s first soap opera MALI in NTV, just to mention a few.

Even more exciting, is the great idea by the production team to follow the cast and the band on camera throughout the project and come up with a reality TV show. Bearing in mind that most of the cast members are our very own celebrities, this will definitely keep many Kenyans glued to their screens.

The project, which is supported by the Kenya Tourist Board (KTB) and its Agents abroad was launched by former tourism minister Najib Balaa, is produced by Meerkat Productions Ltd in partnership with Peter Ultee Productions B.V. and is the latest in yet another great initiative from KTB to sell and promote Kenya to the world.

KENYA TOURIST BOARD – JOB WELL DONE

The Kenya Forum is often a critical platform but it is time to give credit where credit is due.

The tourism industry in Kenya is the second largest source of foreign exchange revenue for the country followed by agriculture and it’s therefore crucial for the government to invest in the same, in order to reap much more from it. KTB seems to be doing a great job in selling the country globally and Kenyans can now see why the Board is one of the best of its kind in Africa.

KENYA TRAVEL EXPO

Mkamzee Mwatela

Apart from the magic of the Kenya musical ‘Magical’ the board has also organised a Kenya Travel Expo where over 150 travel agents, tour operators and trade media from Kenya’s tourist source markets are expected to participate on 28th to 30th September at  the Kenyatta International Conference Centre. (KICC)

In 2009, led by the then Tourism Minister Hon. Najib Balala, Kenya launched a tourism marketing campaign in Eastern Europe and established a Marketing Development Representative office in Moscow represented by a reputable international firm, ‘Aviareps Russia’. The investment was to focus on consumer advertising and placement of 36 billboards at strategic points in the city of Moscow.

INCREASING TOURISM

Following his appointment as Minister of Tourism in March, Danson Mwanzo, said his priority is to increase tourist arrivals from 2 million received last year, to at least 3 million by the end of this year.

He is also keen to introduce ‘home stays’ as a new concept of opening up tourism to many parts of the country and said a pilot project would soon be launched with the assistance of Malaysia, which happens to be the most advanced in the world in this concept.

Under Malaysia’s home stay programme, tourists live with a local family and get the experience of staying in close-knit family away from home and learn about the people’s culture and traditions whilst giving host families a source of income as well.

BRANDING KENYA LOOKING UP

Najib Balala - Former Tourism Minister

Judging from the branding of the Kenya as witnessed in the just concluded 2012 Olympics, this Forum correspondent can acknowledge the efforts by brand Kenya in partnership with KTB and other partners to sell the country globally.

The UK being one of Kenya’s top export markets and source markets for tourism, The Kenya House 2012 set up in Stratford provided an opportunity to showcase a full range of the county’s assets including exports, investment potential and some of the strongest Kenyan Brands.

KENYA – MOST IMPROVED BRAND IN AFRICA

In case you didn’t know, Kenya was actually cited as the most improved country brand in Africa, in a survey that ranked the top 10 most valuable country brands in Africa which was released by Brand Finance on 25th May 2012. Kenya was placed 8th in the top 10 countries with a brand value of $19 billion.

The Kenya Forum hopes that Minister Mwanzo and his team can continue to build on the good work done by Najib Balala in Kenya’s taking the tourism industry in Kenya a notch or two higher.

President Kenyatta declared winner.

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