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Kenya eyes one lakh Indian tourists

Posted on Mar 06 2014 | IANS

Kolkata, March 6 : Kenya, home to the famed Maasai Mara national reserve, plans to lure one lakh Indian tourists in the next two years with the focus on developing regional markets in cities like Kolkata, Jaipur, Lucknow and Chandigarh.

The east African nation is tapping into West Bengal's film industry - Tollywood - to increase its brand visibility and thereby generate awareness about hitherto unknown tourism destinations of the country.

"For Kenya, India is the largest source market in Asia and the fourth largest in the world," said Chiranjib Biswas, destination manager, Kenya Tourism Board (KTB).

"In 2012, 62,000 passengers visited Kenya from India and the world arrival was 1,23,6024. Our short-term target is to reach the one lakh milestone in the next two years.

"Tourism has picked up in the last few years and we are now focusing on regional markets. Our long-term goal is five lakh tourists in the next few years," he said.

To strengthen its east India tourism circuit, KTB hopes the country can be showcased through films and subsequently generate interest for tourists.

With its idyllic 536-km-long coastline on the Indian Ocean, Kenya, according to Biswas, can provide an ideal backdrop to shoot Bengali films in the feature.

The savannah grass teeming with wildlife and hemmed by the Kenyan Highlands are treasure-troves for filmmakers.

"It is not just wildlife parks that can provide locales to the film industry. The long coastline with its famous beaches can be chosen for the song and dance sequences. Tollywood can harness its potential.

"We feel that through Tollywood films, more people from eastern India will be interested in travelling there," said Biswas.

He said the tourism board is in talks with Bollywood director-actor Farhan Akhtar's production company.

"The Kenya Film Commission and other agencies will help out in choosing the locations and with other formalities," he said.

KTB has partnered with Priya Entertainments to promote the country during the March 9 celebrity cricket match here called "League of Stars".

It is also eyeing a tie-up with a leading multiplex chain to show promotional videos on the large screen.

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