Kenya expecting record tourism earnings

Kenya is expected to earn a record Ksh100 billion (just under US$1 billion) from the tourism industry by the end of this year.

This would exceed the previous record when, in the peak period of 2011, the industry earned the exchequer Ksh97.9 billion (US$966m) after the country attracted 1, 785, 382 international holidaymakers. Last year, the country earned Ksh84.6 billion (US$835m) from the tourism sector.

The East African country expects to receive 1.6 million international tourists this year compared with 1 180 546 visitors last year.

Speaking during a Tourism Summit at State House, Mombasa, recently, Tourism Minister, Najib Balala, said the industry had registered a 14% growth in the first six months of this year.

He attributed this to improved security across the country, which led to the US, UK and France lifting travel advisories last year against Kenya coastal resort towns, including Mombasa and Malindi.

Balala explained that marketing drives in traditional source markets of Germany, UK, US, Italy and France and emerging markets of Asia had boosted tourist flow to the country.

“The markets of India, the US and United Arab Emirates have been more resilient than those of the UK, Belgium and Italy,” he said.

Following the growth that was recorded between January and June this year, Balala pointed out that the country earned Ksh47 billion (US$464m) from the industry. “Owing to the high tourist season between August and December, we expect the revenue from tourism to hit a record Ksh100 billion,” Balala added.

To boost the sector further, the Tourism Minister said the government had allocated Ksh1.5 billion (US$15m) to the Kenya Tourism Board for marketing mainly in overseas markets.

Part of the marketing is already under way in Poland in efforts to sustain charter flights operated by Small Planet between Warsaw and Mombasa.

Balala expressed optimism that tourism was set for full recovery in 2018, adding that more charter airlines are expected to resume flights to Mombasa between this year and 2017.

British High Commissioner to Kenya, Nic Hailey, said he was impressed that security in the East African country had improved compared with the previous years.

He added that his government was supporting Kenya in anti-terrorism initiatives to sustain peace and tranquillity for the country to attract more international holidaymakers.

Source: TU