Kenya’s tourism sector has recorded a double digit rise in earnings to Ksh120 billion in the year 2017 despite the prolonged electioneering period. This represents a 20. 3% growth compared to 2016 when the tourism sector earned Ksh99. 69 billion.

The strong growth in tourism was underpinned by a 9.8% growth in international arrivals in 2017 to 1,474,671 arrivals compared to 1,342, 899 arrivals in 2016.

Speaking in Nairobi today while releasing 2017 statistics on the performance of Kenya’s tourism industry, Tourism and Wildlife Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala said increased arrivals outpaced the estimated global growth in tourism numbers, according to the latest United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) report.

“The report indicated that International tourist arrivals worldwide increased by 7% to reach a total of 1.32 billion in 2017,” said the CS.

Mr Balala stated that Kenya’s source markets recorded impressive growth while the United States of America(USA) remained Kenya’s leading source market growing by 17 percent to top 114, 507 arrivals. He said the US market contributed 11.8% of arrivals, followed by the United Kingdom with an 11.1 share of arrivals which also grew by 11.1% to 107,078 arrivals.

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“Uganda came third with a share of 6.4% closely followed by India with a Contribution of 6.2%, China closed the list of the top five performers with a share of 5.5% contribution to the total arrivals in 2017,” explained the CS

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Europe led on arrivals by 36%, followed by Africa at 29%, Americans and Asia 15%, Middle East and Oceania recorded 3 and 2% respectively in 2017. “Uganda topped the list of Kenya’s top source Market in Africa by 20.6 percent representing 61,542 arrivals , followed by South Africa which grew by 9.8 to record 39,441 while Tanzania increased by 21. 8 percent to 21, 110,” he added.

Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) CEO Dr Betty Radier said the launch of the Mombasa-Nairobi Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) coupled with increased air connectivity have greatly improved access to tourism attractions.

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She further said the opening up of new properties and the entry of more international brands in to Kenya’s hospitality industry have greatly expanded the Country’s capacity in both quality hotel beds and meeting and conferencing facilities.

“KTB continues to market the diversity of Kenya, reinforcing, massages of our key attractions and letting the world know that a Kenyan safari does not happen only during the great wildebeest migration into Maasai Mara, it is an all year experience,” said Radier.

The release of the 2017 tourism industry performance report comes against the backdrop of the on-going implementation of a new Tourism Masterplan and marketing strategy which were developed in 2017.

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