BY CORRESPONDENT,NAIROBI,19TH JAN,2022-Kenya has recorded a 39.7% increase in tourism earnings which recovered to reach Kshs. 146 billion from Kshs. 88 billion a year earlier.
The rise in revenue is attributed to the increase in the number of international tourist arrivals which increased 53.3% to reach 870,465 compared to 567,848 registered in 2020.
Tourism and Wildlife Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala hopes the easing of travel restrictions in most countries as well as new tourist source markets such as Mexico, Israel and Iran would help net Kenya 1 million international tourist arrivals this year.
“We are on an upward trajectory. The numbers are still low, but we are optimistic that we will eventually go back to our all-time high international visitor arrivals in 2019, or even surpass it. This is because majority of our masses are vaccinated and international visitors will have faith in our destination again,” said CS Balala.
Out of the total international arrivals, 299,802 were on holiday representing 34% of the total arrivals, while 257,357 traveled to visit family or friends.
Another 229,804 visitors jetted in for business and Meetings, Incentives, Exhibitions, and Conferences with the niche taking up 26.4%, of the arrivals.
The 2021 figures are still way below when compared to the country’s all-time high recorded in 2019 of 2,048,834 international arrivals.
Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) remained the major point of entry for tourists with 644,194 landings while Moi International Airport in Mombasa had 48,749 arrivals.
The United States remains Kenya’s key tourist source market at 136,981, followed by Uganda, Tanzania, and the UK that dropped to fourth and India was fifth.
Additionally, in nine months to September 2021, the bed occupancy rates increased 60.7% to a total of 4,138,821 as compared to the previous year when occupancy stood at 2,575,812.
This sustained recovery of the hospitality sector was largely supported by domestic travellers which saw domestic bed nights grow 101.3% while international bed nights grew by 0.05%.
Visitors from Africa toured Kenya for business while the rest juggled between leisure and family.
In 2021, the tourism industry lost 1.2 million full time equivalent jobs and 152 billion shillings worth of labor.
Kenya hopes easing of travel restrictions, Covid-19 vaccines as well as new tourist source markets such as Mexico, Australia, Switzerland, the Middle East and Europe would help net Kenya 1 million in international tourist arrivals this year.