Celebrating the Kisumu Tourism Expo -2011

Last week, Integritour was proud to take part in the ‘Kisumu Expo’ at the Simba Club in Kisumu.   The three day event was co-ordinated by the Lake Victoria Tourism Association in an effort to bring together all the local industry players to share experience and to celebrate and promote our beautiful corner of Kenya.  With the imminent opening of the Kisumu airport to International flights, the ongoing improvement of the roads and a surge in the quality of accommodation on offer (to say nothing of the arrival of exciting new professional tour operator on the scene), we have a huge task ahead of us to educate both the domestic audience and the international travelling community.  Herewith, our event report from our two on-site reporters, Chris & Patricia:

Kisumu ExpoChris:  The day prior to the event saw the pain of stall assembly – and we attempted to do justice to the prettiness of our in-town shop by trying to recreate something similar in a bare hall, using nothing more than a few hard board walls and coloured sheets.  Half of our shop was duly transported in Ken’s car to the Simba club, and with a bit of interior design flair we were the proud sponsors of a beautiful, professional stand to match the beauty and professionalism of our tour products!  We were ready to go.

As the doors opened for an early start on day one we took our strategic places, standing alert at the second door from the gate to greet all attendees.  The opening ceremony was graced by guests of honour including tourism board representatives and senior members of the ministry of tourism and the main topic of conversation was the announcement of the formation of eight community cultural centres within the Western Kenya circuit.  Every attendee dropped in on our stall – with most commenting on its superior attractiveness relative to the other stands (not that we’re competitive at all… :-) )

Day two saw a general flow of members of the public to see what we had to offer.  Amongst our visitors came an elderly gentleman who could not understand, read or write English and was asking for company literature.  He seemed particularly intrigued by the concept of business cards and was asking what they are used for and the reason why Patricia had to have so many.  About our business-card raffle pot, the old man thought we wanted to use it for cooking and requested to know if there was any food ready.

The was a fun, festival atmosphere on the final day of the Expo and our stand received a large number of visitors enquiring about the company and our tour products.  After the exhibition the participants were assembled in the hall for the closing ceremony which included various forms of entertainment including dances lead by YAWA youth group, comedy and a fashion show.

As reported by Patrica: “Welcome to Integritour, we are a responsible tour company in Kisumu and specialize in tours withinPatricia at the Kisumu Tourism ExpoWestern Kenya.  We also offer ticketing, accommodation booking, airport transfers and car hire”. Thank you very much to the many people who heard me introducing the company in that way (possibly more than 100 times in the 3 days!).  It was a pleasure meeting and talking to you at the Expo.

Our stand was the best decorated in the expo and once in, guests received a warm welcome with “please have a seat and a sweet”.  Everybody loved visiting us so much that some did not want to say good bye and other clients were outside waiting to be served. The most touching thing was how we left our clients surprised after we took them through our various tours in Western Kenya and everybody asked “are you sure the tours are interesting as they sound?” I would look at them, smile, and ask “would I comfortably sit here and tell you things that don’t exist?”  It was amazing to me how few local Kenyans knew about the exciting things to do in and around Kisumu and Nyanza – whether the jungle walks at Kakamega, the boat trips around the Lake Victoria Islands, or even Kit Mikayi – only 15 minutes drive out of town!

After the Expo was a Gala night which included a buffet dinner, fashion show and lots of fun, everybody headed off to Bomas Resort to dance to a Jamnazi performance.  A great experience!

To everyone who stopped by our stall we’d just like to say a big thank you for taking the time to hear more about what we’re doing.  We look forward to hopefully serving you soon on exciting, uplifting, scenic, nature-filled, adrenalin-pumping or simply mind-expanding experiences in Western Kenya.

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