Cruise Ship arrivals challenge for Kenya as tourist numbers climb by 16.7%

IN SUMMARY
Tourism secretary Najib Balala said the growth was a sign that the recovery campaigns were bearing fruit.
Arrivals through the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport jumped by 16.2 per cent to 782,013 last year compared to 672,789 visitors a year earlier.
Moi International Airport, Mombasa arrivals last year grew by 22.2 per cent to 92,872 compared with 75,983.

International tourist arrivals increased by 16.7 per cent to 877,602 from January to December last year compared to 752,073 in 2015.
Last week, Tourism secretary Najib Balala said the growth was a sign that the recovery campaigns were bearing fruit.

According to statistics from the Kenya Tourism Board (KTB), arrivals through the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport jumped by 16.2 per cent to 782,013 last year compared to 672,789 visitors a year earlier.

At the Moi International Airport, Mombasa arrivals last year grew by 22.2 per cent to 92,872 compared with 75,983.

Cruise ship visitors, however, went down by 17.7 per cent to 2,717 last year compared with 3,302 visitors previously.

United States emerged as Kenya’s top source market after overtaking the United Kingdom, which, for years, has been the country’s leading market.

Arrivals from the US market to Kenya rose to 97,883 last year up from 84,759 in 2015 while the UK market had 96,404 arrivals down from 98,523. India was third largest market for Kenya with 64,116 arrivals last year up from 49,756 in 2015 while Uganda came fourth with 51,023 up from 29,038 previously.

China displaced Germany and Italy from the top five best performing source markets for Kenya last year with 47,860 arrivals up from 29,790.

Kenya last year received 43,502 tourists from the German market up from 38,236 in 2015 while those from Italy rose to 35,953 compared to 33,415 in 2015. From South Africa there were 35,926 last year compared with 30,500 arrivals in 2015 while had 20,435 up from 16,756 and Canada (19,790) compared to 17,362.

From the Netherlands, Kenya received 19,221 up from 15,689 while from neighbouring Tanzania, 18,160 tourists came, rising from 17,752.

Mr Balala attributed the growth to improved security and tourism recovery campaigns which were done in both traditional and emerging markets.

Kenya suffered a huge setback when a string of terrorist attacks forced international visitors to revise their holiday plans with countries issuing travel alerts to their citizens. In such cases, the number of visitors drops when travel is restricted to only what is essential and those who choose to go against the grain cut the period of visit.

General election

In 2015, the government made available Sh450 million, part of the Sh7.1 billion tourism marketing budget, to attract international visitors, some of whom from countries that issued travel advisories.

Among other plans, the KTB, charged with marketing the country stepped its promotion when it had a deal with the CNN to feature Kenya’s gems in its programming.

Mr Balala said Uganda was Kenya’s top market last year while South Africa came second, Tanzania third while Nigeria and Ethiopia were fourth and fifth respectively.

To maintain the industry’s growth, the Cabinet Secretary asked politicians to tone down their language ahead of the General Election in August.

During elections, businesses and business people are known to take a wait-and-see position because of perceived volatility when politicians compete for offices.

Gains made in marketing the country could be jeopardised if political temperatures rise, he said. “Every election year, tourist numbers dwindle due to a war of words among political leaders,” Mr Balala said.

 

Courtesy of  NATION MEDIA GROUP