Press Release: iPay advises the Ministry of Tourism & Wildlife and Facebook digital marketing program on how to safely use online payment solutions during the COVID-19 pandemic

9th July 2020, Nairobi, Kenya…

In the month of July, the Ministry of Tourism & Wildlife collaborated with Facebook and WYLDE International to launch the Boost with Facebook training for the Tourism and hospitality sector.

With the tourism and hospitality sector in Kenya being hit hard due to the pandemic, the Boost with Facebook program is designed to help hundreds of tourism stakeholders to use the Facebook family of apps (Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp) to boost their businesses’ marketing efforts during these uncertain times.

Speaking about the launch of the program, the Cabinet Secretary for Tourism and Wildlife Hon. Najib Balala said, “Boost with Facebook for the Ministry of Tourism and Wildlife coincides with our efforts at the Ministry to work with industry stakeholders to review the existing National Tourism Policy to respond to the challenges of COVID-19. Through this program, the Ministry of Tourism & Wildlife aims to equip SMB’s in the tourism sector with vital digital marketing skills to help them recover from the losses incurred due to the Coronavirus pandemic.”

With businesses going online to maintain visibility during this time, SMBs were encouraged to use digital platforms to ensure safe online payment solutions for their clients. Speaking at the closing ceremony, iPay’s Marketing Manager, Ms. Naomi Komu addressed the tourism sector trainees on the benefits of using the iPay platform. “iPay is an easy-to-use payment solution that allows tour or travel firms to bill and receive instant online and offline payments. It is able to incorporate multiple payment options such as VISA, Mastercard, UnionPay, American Express, M-PESA, Airtel Money, Pesalink onto the platform, and operates 24/7, which accommodates clients from different time zones. The pandemic has caused a rise in online transactions due to the government directive minimizing social interactions and physical cash transactions. iPay also enables one to track their payments, draw statements in real-time, and keep records,” said Komu.

The programme will feature webinar sessions led by Facebook’s implementing partner WYLDE International in association with the Public Relations Society of Kenya (PRSK) and the Media Council of Kenya (MCK). The programme will enable its participants to identify business constraints caused by COVID-19, learn how to manage stranded assets and develop new business models to survive the pandemic. The programme will also equip SMB’s with skills on building an online presence with Facebook, storytelling on Instagram, connecting with audiences through Facebook groups, growing their business through Whatsapp and implementing advertising strategies on Facebook’s family of apps.

Commenting on the launch, Facebook Head of Public Policy East & Horn of Africa Mercy Ndegwa said, “We are excited about the launch of Boost with Facebook for the Ministry of Tourism and Wildlife. At Facebook, we know that small and medium businesses in Kenya may be experiencing unexpected challenges during the outbreak of COVID-19 and we are committed to providing as much support as possible. Small businesses are the backbone of the economy and pillars of their local communities and this program is designed to help SMBs in the tourism sector boost their businesses through Facebook during these challenging times.”

WYLDE International’s Chief Executive Joram Mwinamo welcomed the partnership highlighting that it will assist SMB’s in the tourism sector which has been adversely affected by the pandemic. “The program will include a triage assessment of the businesses’ who will, in turn, get personalized feedback on the status of their business and how they can optimize the digital marketing strategies to upscale their businesses in the wake of the pandemic.”
The Ministry of Tourism and Wildlife recently released the Tourism Research Report 2020 which did a study to measure the impact of COVID-19 on the local tourism sector. The findings of the study indicated an abrupt and unprecedented drop in hotel demand leading to the closure of most hotels and job losses. The report warns that the country could lose $320 million with declining passenger arrivals while the Meetings, Incentives, Conferencing, Exhibitions (MICE) sub-sector which brought in Ksh.164 billion last year, are among those projected to lose heavily due to COVID-19.

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