MS JACINTA NZIOKI Mbithi has been the acting director of marketing at the Kenya Tourism Board, a government agency that is charged with promoting tourism locally and abroad as well as advising sector stakeholders on market trends and needs. She will now be the acting managing director as the board looks to fill the expired position of Muriithi Ndegwa. This change of management at the board puts her on the radar.
A time when the country has recorded an improvement in the tourism sector activities especially at the coastal region where painful terror-linked insecurity has been dealt with, this new appointment will sure step up drive to develop and promote more tourism products.
Tourism visits went down by more than 20% in the 11 months to September last year, settling at 689,625. Despite the measly increase, attempts to revive the sector are however starting to pay off, as the country gets creative. Kenya is not only tapping into conference tourism to increase the numbers but also trying to bridge the gap of quality accommodation offerings through a new concept called “HomeStays” – a unique hospitality system developed by the ministry of tourism, in which a tourist stays with a local family as a member of the family. It is such innovative products that will help make the tourism sector vibrant.
The new KTB boss is expected to ignite growth big time at the agency since this is not a new territory – she is one of the founding executive directors of the Kenya Association of Women in Tourism (KAWT) and member to the board of Ecotourism Kenya. She holds an MBA in Strategic Management with Marketing and a Bachelor’s degree in Tourism Management from Moi University.
With a postgraduate diploma in marketing of services, which she obtained from Maastricht School of Management in the Netherlands, she is indeed better placed to do the work. According to tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala, Ms Mbithi will remain in the acting position until the board completes a competitive recruitment exercise.