Poor marketing blamed for drop in visitor numbers to Kenyan resorts
The Kenya Tourist Board (KTB) has come under fire for not marketing the country strongly enough overseas resulting in poor visitor numbers this season.
The tourist board, which in 2010 won an award for the Best National Tourism Board in Middle East, Africa, and Indian Ocean category, has been criticised by hoteliers along the Kenya coast.
They claim the KTB has not invested enough in marketing to enable it to compete with other popular tourism hot spots such as Thailand, South Africa and Malaysia.
Kuldip Sondhi, general manager of the Reef Hotel, said uncertainties over the next general election was affecting investors and future bookings. He said: “It is the duty of the KTB to reassure potential overseas market that all is well.”
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Hoteliers have been hit by fewer advanced bookings and challenges in the market place such as the European economy have all made an impact on the Kenya tourism trade, but cancellations have remained low.
David Lang’at, general manager of the Pride Inn Sairock, said: “The KTB should be aggressive enough in marketing Kenya.”
He added that the KTB should incorporate people with vast industry experience in the board and not just people with paper qualifications. "We have people who have been in the industry for more than 20 years who know the ups and downs of the industry. These people can identify how to properly market the country abroad,” he said.
The KTB’s mission statement says its main aim is to drive and support the effective marketing of Kenya’s tourism products professionally and transparently while enriching the lives of Kenyans and visitors alike and its vision is to achieve global recognition as an outstanding tourist destination.
SAS: Improving the British Army’s decision making with data
SAS’ long-standing relationship with the British Army is built on mutual respect and grounded by a reciprocal understanding of each others’ capabilities, strengths, and weaknesses. Roderick Crawford, VP and Country GM for SAS UKI, states that the company’s thorough grasp of the defence sector makes it an ideal partner for the Army as it undergoes its own digital transformation.
“Major General Jon Cole told us that he wanted to enable better, faster decision-making in order to improve operational efficiency,” he explains. Therefore, SAS’ task was to help the British Army realise the “significant potential” of data through the use of artificial intelligence (AI) to automate tasks and conduct complex analysis.
In 2020, the Army invested in the SAS ‘Viya platform’ as an overture to embarking on its new digital roadmap. The goal was to deliver a new way of working that enabled agility, flexibility, faster deployment, and reduced risk and cost: “SAS put a commercial framework in place to free the Army of limits in terms of their access to our tech capabilities.”
Doing so was important not just in terms of facilitating faster innovation but also, in Crawford’s words, to “connect the unconnected.” This means structuring data in a simultaneously secure and accessible manner for all skill levels, from analysts to data engineers and military commanders. The result is that analytics and decision-making that drives innovation and increases collaboration.
Crawford also highlights the importance of the SAS platform’s open nature, “General Cole was very clear that the Army wanted a way to work with other data and analytics tools such as Python. We allow them to do that, but with improved governance and faster delivery capabilities.”
SAS realises that collaboration is at the heart of a strong partnership and has been closely developing a long-term roadmap with the Army. “Although we're separate organisations, we come together to work effectively as one,” says Crawford. “Companies usually find it very easy to partner with SAS because we're a very open, honest, and people-based business by nature.”
With digital technology itself changing with great regularity, it’s safe to imagine that SAS’ own relationship with the Army will become even closer and more diverse. As SAS assists it in enhancing its operational readiness and providing its commanders with a secure view of key data points, Crawford is certain that the company will have a continually valuable role to play.
“As warfare moves into what we might call ‘the grey-zone’, the need to understand, decide, and act on complex information streams and diverse sources has never been more important. AI, computer vision and natural language processing are technologies that we hope to exploit over the next three to five years in conjunction with the Army.”
Fundamentally, data analytics is a tool for gaining valuable insights and expediting the delivery of outcomes. The goal of the two parties’ partnership, concludes Crawford, will be to reach the point where both access to data and decision-making can be performed qualitatively and in real-time.
“SAS is absolutely delighted to have this relationship with the British Army, and across the MOD. It’s a great privilege to be part of the armed forces covenant.”