• Balala says figure is slightly lower compared to last year by about one per cent.
• He says they are upbeat that the sector will grow by about 10 per cent in the remaining six months of 2019.
Kenya’s tourist numbers slightly dropped in the first six months of the year but things look rosy, Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala said on Thursday.
The Tourism CS said the country recorded 921,090 international tourists arrivals between January and June, compared to 927,797 arrivals over the same period last year.
Speaking at the official opening of the Kenya Association of Hotelkeepers and Caterers (KAHC) annual symposium ain Mombasa Beach, Balala said this was 0.723 per cent drop in numbers.
“This figure is slightly lower compared to last year by about one per cent. However, we are upbeat that the sector will grow by about 10 per cent in the remaining six months of 2019,” he said.
The CS said the first six months are the low season for the tourism sector.
He said the decline in numbers was mainly reported for the arrivals within the East African region, but the traditional source markets for which are the United Kingdom and USA among others remained strong.
“The decline is on cross-border not the international arrivals. Jomo Kenyatta International Airport and the Moi International Airport recorded an impressive performance,” said Balala.
He said JKIA received a total of 623,371 arrivals and Moi International Airport received 61, 739 arrivals, while other airports had 10, 426 in the past six months.
“This is very encouraging and is courtesy of everyone playing their part positively. I urge all us to put in more effort to ensure that we perform better by the end of this year,” said Balala.
Balala said there is need for government and tourism stakeholders to work together to start implementing National Tourism Blueprint (NTB) 2030.
He said the blue print, focuses on product, marketing, investment and infrastructure and is expected to give the sector a boost.
“It emphasizes the need to engage all key stakeholders to work together to realize sustainable tourism development in the country" said Balala.
He said already some establishments and stakeholders are improving tourism products, through refurbishment of existing products, investment in new products, quality of service delivery and digital marketing.