The Kenya tourism industry earnings grew to 20 per cent in the period ended in December 2017 to Ksh 120 billion compared to 99.69 billion in 2016 shrugging off expected poor performance attributed to the long electioneering period last year.
The increase in arrivals to Kenya surpassed the estimated global growth in tourism numbers predicted by latest United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) World Tourism report. The report indicated that international tourist arrivals (overnight visitors) worldwide increased by 7 per cent to reach a total of 1.32 billion in 2017.Total international arrivals to Kenya grew by 9.8 per cent to 1.47 from 1.34 arrivals recorded in 2016.
While earnings reached a record high, arrivals are yet to achieve a full recovery when put in comparison with the best performing year of 2011 when there were over 1.8 million visitors
“The numbers show that there is confidence in Kenya. Previously the numbers had gone down due to insecurity but the Government has invested heavily in security which has restored confidence among tourist source markets,” Tourism CS Najib Balala
There high expectations that the direct flights to the U.S slated for October will increase the number to Kenya having received 114, 000 tourists from the country last year.
The U.S was followed by the United Kingdom with an 11.1 percent share of arrivals, which also grew by 11.1 per cent to 107,078 arrivals.
Uganda came in third with a share of 6.4 percent, closely followed by India with a contribution of 6.2 per cent.
China closed the list of the top five performers with a share of 5.5 per cent contribution to the total arrivals in 2017.
“Kenya grew stronger in 2017 as a destination brand following positive visibility and endorsement it received through global accolades such as the World Travel Awards’ declaration of Kenya as the world’s best safari destination.” Tourism CS Najib Balala
Domestic tourism did not disappoint as well, having a total of 4.05 million bed nights taken up by Kenyans in 2017 compared to 3.5 million in 2016, signifying a 15.9 percent growth.