The internet and social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are the best tools for building growth in challenging markets and making the tourism industry more sustainable, according to E-Tourism Frontiers chief executive officer (CEO) Damian Cook.
Cook, who was speaking to journalists at the Intercontinental Hotel in Nairobi, Kenya, said in spite of the evidence of the benefits of using these channels, only a small number of East Africa tourism firms are accessing these tools to their full potential.
“With over 59 per cent of travel now being researched, booked and bought online and with online tourism sales set to double over US$400 billion by the end of the year, it is critical that tourism players in the sector make better use of the internet and social media to market and manage their destinations and businesses,” said Cook.
Cook was launching the fourth E-Tourism East Africa Conference, which will be held at the Intercontinental on June 9 and 10, bringing together the likes of TripAdvisor, Expedia and Facebook.
The conference will be sponsored by the Kenya Tourism Board and Intercontinental, and Muriithi Ndegwa, managing director of the Kenya Tourism Board, said it will be a huge endorsement to Kenya as a destination.
“It is great that Kenya has the opportunity to host the E-Tourism East Africa Conference, the conference will give the tourism sector the opportunity to reconnect and learn about the best online tourism and travel developments and technologies. The role of online is imperative for the growth and success of our tourism sector,” he said.