#Kenya to build on 2017 success as huge delegation heads to #ITB2018


(Posted 01st March 2018)

Kenya’s tourism sector recorded a double-digit rise in earnings in 2017 to end the year with just under Kshs. 120 billion in revenue receipts, a 20.3% growth compared to 2016 when the tourism sector earned Kshs. 99.69 billion.

The strong growth in tourism receipts was underpinned by a 9.8% growth in total international arrivals into Kenya by air, sea and cross border in 2017 to 1,474,671 arrivals compared to 1,342,899 arrivals in 2016.

The increase in arrivals to Kenya outpaced the estimated global growth in tourism numbers, according to the latest United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) World Tourism report which indicates that international tourist arrivals (overnight visitors) worldwide increased by 7% to reach a total of 1.32 billion in 2017.

Kenya’s Tourism and Wildlife Cabinet Secretary, Najib Balala says most of Kenya’s source markets recorded impressive growth in 2017.

Market performance

The United States of America (USA) remained Kenya’s leading source market, growing by 17% to top 114,507 arrivals. The U.S. market contributed 11.8% of arrivals. It was followed by the United Kingdom with an 11.1% share of arrivals, which also grew by 11.1% to 107,078 arrivals.

Uganda came in 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.

Tourism CS. Balala said, “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. This was achieved despite a busy electioneering season that threatened to slow down tourism activities.”

Market share per region

In terms of share of arrivals by region, Europe contributed 36% of arrivals, followed by Africa at 29%, the Americas at 15%, Asia at 15%, Middle East at 3% and Oceania (which includes Australia) at 2%.

In 2017, Uganda topped the list of Kenya’s top source markets in Africa, growing by 20.6% to 61,542 arrivals. It was followed by South Africa, which grew by 9.8% to record 39,441 arrivals. Arrivals from Tanzania increased by 21.8% to 21,110.

Kenya’s domestic market

On the domestic front, a total of 4.05 million bed nights were taken up by Kenyans in 2017 compared to 3.5 million in 2016, denoting a 15.9% growth. The growth has been credited to increased investment by the Government in promoting domestic tourism through awareness campaigns that sensitized Kenyans on attractions, destinations, and experiences in Kenya.

Commenting on the performance of Kenya’s tourism industry in 2017, Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Betty Radier has said the launch of the Mombasa-Nairobi Standard Gauge Railway coupled with increased air connectivity has greatly improved access to tourism attractions.

She further said the opening up of new properties and the entrance of more international brands into Kenya’s hospitality industry has greatly expanded the country’s capacity in both quality hotel beds and in meetings and conferencing facilities.

KTB continues to market the diversity of Kenya, reinforcing messages 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’s an all-year experience. Kenya offers a warm climate, tempered with cool sea breezes ideal for passive and active relaxation for tourists of all ages.”, the KTB CEO said.

Meanwhile is one of the largest delegations ever heading to the German capital of Berlin for the upcoming 2018 edition of ITB, the world’s largest tourism trade show, expecting to do roaring business and increase both visitor numbers and revenues during the current year by another double digit margin.