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Here’s how you can take on five systemic challenges hindering tourism growth in Kenya

turnup.travel/new marked its fourth anniversary in January of 2021 and we took some time to reflect, rethink and reboot our purpose. For the last four years, our experiments laid the foundation of our model, tried and tested various approaches and we’re doubling down on our collaborative agenda to scale the playbook and take on various systemic challenges that hinder the growth of our tourism industry. Here is our five-point agenda to transform Kenya’s tourism industry and how you can be a part of it!
Our mission is to create adventurous trips with a social impact with a triple bottom line – fun for participants, bring commercial value to our travel trade partners, and create impact in the host community by giving you an opportunity to make a difference and find your place in the world.

Going forward, we’re turning up the adventure with thematic experiences around conservation, culinary immersion, culture, and connection to our vibrant cities in each of our trips, with a little inspiration from you.

By partnering with local businesses and community-oriented brands, our clients will share unique travel experiences with others and engage directly with the local community, support local economies, learn about different cultures and contribute or participate in causes that you care about along the way. This new travel ecosystem is rooted in the idea of connecting people from around the world built on a foundation of travel and sharing experiences to good.

Our goal is to get people out post-Covid 19, slow down for new normal, travel for longer, and connect with the world through a collection of carefully curated, small-group travel experiences led by local experts and changemakers designed to bring travelers face to face with the people that are driving positive change across the destinations we’re offering. If you’re an eco rated property, community conservancy, or a changemaker in your area, do send us your fact sheet to reservations@turnup.travel/new 

turnup.travel/new themed experiences

1. Sustainability at the core of consideration 

For a long time, the rate has been among the key decision factor but now in the post-Covid 19 world, turnup.travel/new is reimagining the future of sustainable tourism in Africa by playing an enabler role in empowering consumers with information to add meaningfulness to their holidays. Through our cultural experiencesagro based and food tours for culinary immersion and regenerative agriculture, conservation-themed safaris, we have witnessed the sense of environmental and social responsibility and we’re going to help more people incorporate those values into their travel purchase decisions and shopping especially for made in Kenya products. Most of our customers are socially conscious millennial travellers and through our storytelling arm we have developed content that resonates with the local market and over time built a powerful brand that is trusted in the marketplace and connected with consumers. We believe there’s an immense opportunity to not only work with travel trade partners and host communities but also engage destination marketing organizations to ensure consumers consider options that are eco-friendly, hotels that go an extra mile for sustainability, and ethical trade practices. turnup.travel/new enables travellers to connect with locals through sustainable tours that allow you to benefit from cross-cultural understanding by storytelling to gain full exposure to underserved destinations thus creating social impact. We champion SDG 12 to reduce waste, create decent jobs and transform livelihoods through tourism as we promote local culture and products. If you’d like to partner, reply now.

You can now book eco-rated properties, sustainable tours, and transfers through turnup.travel/new. Submit your eco rated accommodation, tours and community based tourism projects to reservations@turnup.travel/new

turnup.travel/new today has grown to become an African travel brand for themed experiences, storytelling, and social impact.
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2. Africa as a domestic market

Our cofounder Muthuri Kinyamu joined a panel to discuss domestic tourism at Africa Travel Week earlier in April. Before Covid 19, there was an aggressive promotion of the domestic sector as a source market that translated to an increased number of bed night occupancies by Kenyans from 2.7 million in 2013 to 4.5 million in 2018. We could unlock the untapped potential that is the 1.2 billion people and 300 million African traveller market potential for Intra Africa travel

You can change your approach to reach this market :

  • Please redo your property photography and visuals that represent the diverse clientele and Use diverse models that show the intention and mirrors the inclusion of this target market.
  • Apply voice-over or subtitles in native languages in promotional collateral. Swahili is for example spoken by more than 100 million people and why not subtitle in pidgin to reach the Nigerian market?
  • FAM trips that combine travel trade and media/influencers paired with our production crew for your content to reach your consumers through various. You can create content from one trip optimized for distribution channels and adapted to suit all the platforms you’re on.

Turnup Studios is your business-to-business, consumer-centric audio visual production and post-production solution, offering world-class content and film-based consultancy handled end to end by a creative & technical collective of photographers, videographers, film licensors, studio managers, and editors.  Write to crew@turnup.travel/new to discuss your brief.

Watch our award winning work

Instagram Tours for destination marketing powered by turnup.travel/new

3. Conservation that dignifies local communities

“I want to see a global shift in the narrative where Africans are the storytellers about African wildlife and assume the lead in efforts to protect it.” Paula Kahumbu

We see a great opportunity to rewrite old conservation narratives that pit locals against foreigners to create engagement models that uplift communities, dignify local subjects, and focus on storytelling that gets people excited with optimism as opposed to the typical poverty porn. To walk along this narrow line, we developed internal guidelines to tell complex stories without jargon meshed with realities to showcase the beauty in adversity. Turnup for Good uses new media tools for conservation educationclimate action advocacy, and amplifies impactful market-driven initiatives that reduce inequality through film, impact-themed tours with changemakers, and social media to reinforce new mindsets and ethical consumer behavior that is relatable to Kenyans.

Got an idea? We can develop it into an impact-themed tour and deliver results in the community.

Got a concept? We can spin the brief into a creative social good story that documents your work.

Got an initiative? We can help promote, package and onboard other stakeholders and implement it successfully.

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4.  TEDification of travel with changemakers, tastemakers, and key opinion leaders

We decided to have sustainability at the core of tours with storytelling and impact, so that’s how turnup.travel/new was born with a triple bottom line approach to travel, content creation, and CSR.

turnup.travel/new started off as a tour operator for new age travellers but we realized we have the power through our lens to help brands tell stories and cast the spotlight on often overlooked stories to inspire people, educate our audiences and influence them to consider new destinations. In Mid 2017, we conceptualized a destination marketing framework dubbed Instagram Tours to enhance collaboration and skills transfer among content creators while addressing the bottlenecks that hinder them from showcasing beautiful Magical Kenya and provide a platform for private and public sector brands to cooperate with influencers through travel.

The partnership framework we pioneered brought together content creators, brand managers, and product owners to co-create offline and share experiences online providing a platform of expression to creators (and some income), brand, PR, and commercial value to businesses and impact in the local community from the trade and exposure over time since the content is primarily online it has the longevity and legs to travel further opening up the locations and brands featured for consideration. We’ve covered different destinations from Nairobi (6 tours), Mombasa, DianiItenTurkanaKisumuLamu, and Naivasha thematically to bring out their key attractions and signature experiences while plugging in the private sector on the canvas and believe this is a replicable and scalable that you can adopt for recovery and working with influencers. We teamed up with Jambojet in Q4 of 2020 for #NowTravelReady using the same concept of having Turnup in Motion – our own professional film production crew, a collective of photographers paired with influencers to cast the spotlight on the new normal in the various routes from Diani, Kisumu, Eldoret, and Malindi they fly to and take customers on a journey of rediscovery while showcasing the health and safety protocols and immersive content to regenerate demand in the domestic and regional markets.

If you’d like to collaborate with us to explore how to align this to suit your marketing and recovery objectives,  please write to Muthuri Kinyamu through partnerships@turnup.travel/new

Our values at turnup.travel/new
We’re driven by our sense of exploration and a need to gain unique insights into the world and we want everyone who comes on our trip to experience an amazing adventure that changes them in some way. Your experience is at the heart of our trips, so if you have any special questions or requirements do let us know. We look forward to planning your dream trip together.
Learn more about Instagram Tours

5.  Developing stronger sub-brands and targetting Kenyans in the diaspora.

In 2019, diaspora remittances surpassed agricultural produce as Kenya’s highest foreign exchange earner and Kenya is targeting 700 billion annually from the four million Kenyans living in the diaspora. We have 47 distinct county governments with their own top experiences and 44 diverse tribes in Kenya all unique in their own way culturally. The current domestic travelers are a small fraction of the potential in the marketplace and currently, most local packages don’t address all the segments within the domestic travel market. Besides the usual reasons, focusing on other reasons why most Kenyans don’t travel yet and how to attract these remittances to tourism activities and investments could unlock the untapped market and help position your county brand.  By the enhancement of tourism products’ infrastructure across the 47 counties, we believe by building stronger sub-brands like how South Africa has done with their cities and provinces, and creating new ‘hubs and spokes’ to connect nascent destinations to the national grid, regional market and beyond could be a solution. We have some ideas on how we could increase the pie rather than fighting for the small pie with price-led competition and lowering rates as experiences will definitely continue going mainstream. If you’re a regional trade bloc, associations across circuits, and a county government representative, we would like to have a chat to help you promote what you have, please reach out. Kenya is a key travel market for Uganda, South Africa, Rwanda, Dubai, Zanzibar and we can also plug you into the various counties.

Our work in Turkana County
You can partner with us to support your objectives for the Kenyan market

You can recommend/ refer us to relevant people in your network who could use our services. Or forward this email to a few contacts.

You can send us opportunities to apply, bid, or join in the above areas.

Join us on one of our tours at www.turnup.travel/new

You can donate to support our work for various causes and projects

Share our videos on social media and tag us @turnup.travel/new

Book some time and talk about how we can collaborate to cocreate some impact together!

  1. IE Africa for the executive coaching and system thinking as part of your 2021 cohort
  2. JackMa for e-commerce training through Alibaba E founders fellowship (China)
  3. turnup.travel/new was a part of the Covid-19 Tourism Relief Program by Enpact & GIZ (Germany) for tourism SMEs in Jordan, Indonesia, Mexico & Kenya
  4. Our creative director Wathanga Gatimu got selected in 2020, as a NEWF pitch finalist, a hub for conservation & wildlife Filmmakers (Africa-wide competition)
  5. turnup.travel/new clinched 1st place, in 2020, for the ‘Tourism – Destination’ Region category in the International Tourism Film Festival Awards 2020 (Africa-wide competition)
  6. We have two offices in Nairobi: Metta, the place entrepreneurs call home, and Baraza Media Lab, for our creative collective – thank you!

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