Kenya has turned to social media to save its ailing tourism industry, with the government calling on users of the interactive platforms to help steer the recovery of the industry.

The Ministry of East African Commission (EAC) Affairs, Commerce and Tourism has therefore set up a task force to start a campaign on some social media networks, targeted at the international community who have come to view Kenya as an unsafe place following recent terror attacks.

“To be considered, a user needs to send an expression of interest to participate in a breakfast meeting by the task-force next week accompanied by a brief write-up on ideas of how to boost Kenya’s tourism sector,” Kenya’s Daily Nation quoted Mr Donald Kipkorir, chairperson of the marketing and communications committee of the team as saying.

To say Kenya’s tourism industry has suffered a dip in fortunes is to be stating the obvious, as the government recently earmarked Sh900 million ($10 million) to revive the industry as Kenya’s coast returns to relative peace.

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“In order to revive the tourism sector, the government this financial year has set aside Sh900 million for the implementation of the tourism recovery plan,” said Phyllis Kandie, Cabinet Secretary for EAC Affairs, Commerce and Tourism earlier in the month.

International warnings had months ago prompted the exit of the unnerved tour companies that evacuated clients from Mombasa, Kenya’s coastal tourist hub following terror attacks on Kenya’s coast. With the area deemed safe again by Kenyan authorities, a global PR and branding campaigns have been identified as the best ways to begin the revival of the sector, with social media chosen as a veritable tool to pass the message across to markets in Europe and the US, where majority of Kenyan tourists come from.

The task force will choose about 200 social media users to proclaim positive messages about Kenya via Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, WatsApp, Blogs and other platforms with far-reaching effect.

Although the terms of engagement of social media users for the campaign to revive the tourism industry, which has added about 15 percent to Kenya’s GDP in recent years, was not disclosed, Kikorir said the task force and the users will collaborate to “ensure this plan is mutually beneficial for the selected users and the tourism sector.”

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