Tourism arrivals surpass 2 million mark

Tourism arrivals surpassed the 2 million mark last year helped by political stability, improved security, growth in the aviation sector, withdrawal of travel advisories and high profile foreign visits.

Arrivals rose 37.3 percent to 2.025 million with a majority of the visitors coming for holiday.

Tourism arrivals rose to 2,025,206 up from 1,474,671 international arrivals registered in 2017.

Of this, Africa and the Indian Ocean Islands contributed 825,489 tourists, 611,969 from Europe, 282,624 from Asia and 247,530 tourists were from America.

The Tourism Sector Performance Report 2018 presented to the Head of State by Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala shows that the country earned Shs 157 billion last year up from Shs 119 billion in 2017 reflecting a 31.26 percent growth.

Even though earnings rose 31.24% to 157 billion shillings, President Uhuru Kenyatta has challenged tourism stakeholders to be more creative and improve the quality and range of services so as to compete globally, noting that it will not be useful to do major tourism marketing campaigns if the sector does not offer high quality services.

Among factors that drive the numbers were; Political Stability following the March 9th handshake between President Kenyatta and Opposition leader Raila Odinga.

Other factors that led to the growth included improved security, growth in the aviation sector, investor confidence, withdrawal of travel advisories, high profile visits among them Former US President Barack Obama, US First Lady Mellania Trump and British PM Theresa May.

According to the report, the purpose for 73.9 percent of the total international arrivals was holiday, 13.3 percent was for business and conference, 6.7 percent was for visiting friends and relatives while 6.4 percent was for other reasons.
The report shows that the top market source for foreign tourists to Kenya is the US with 225,157 travellers which represents 11.12 percent of the total arrivals.
Source market by regional ranking indicates that Africa and the Indian Ocean Islands contributed 825,489 tourists (40.76%), Europe 611,969 (30.22%), Asia 282,624 (13.96%) and Americas 247,530 (12.22%) among others.

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