LONG WAIT

Kenya's international tourism market to recover in 2024 - Balala

Ministry of Tourism will today launch unveil 30 people who won awards for making products that are sold to both the local and international tourists.

In Summary
  • Kenya’s tourism sector lost close to $1 billion in revenue between January and October when numbers of foreign visitors fell by two-thirds due to Covid-19.
  • The ministry is strategising to get tourists in Romania, Ukraine, and others but maintained
Tourists take photos of lions at Maasai Mara
Tourists take photos of lions at Maasai Mara
Image: Douglas Okiddy

The Government is banking on domestic tourism to revive the economy which was greatly affected by the Covid 19 pandemic.

Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala said the international tourism market will take time to recover up to 2024 when they will be expected to return in large numbers.

Kenya’s tourism sector lost close to $1 billion in revenue between January and October when numbers of foreign visitors fell by two-thirds due to Covid-19.

It brought Sh163.5 billion last year, and the government had initially expected that figure to grow one per cent in 2020.

Speaking to journalists after making an impromptu visit at the Mida Creek magical circuit in Kilifi County, Balala said, currently the country is recording few international guests but relies heavily on the local market.

''Tourism has greatly been affected. There are no positive changes in the sector because all flights were suspended after the outbreak of the global pandemic,'' he said.

H e said the ministry is strategising to get tourists in Romania, Ukraine, and others but maintained that the numbers recorded in 2019 and below cannot be experienced. 

He said Mida Creek is one of the destinations where locals should visit and promote community members who are keen on conserving the environment.

''Every time as a Kenyan when you visit a destination like this you have created employment opportunity to another person and that's what we are emphasizing to our people,'' he said.

He joined a community-based organization COBEK in planting thousands of mangroves.

This year he said, the government plans to plant mangroves and so many trees nationwide for the sake of the environment.

''I came to support them and I managed to see their restaurant project, their boardwalk which helps them earn a living,'' Balala said. 

He added that his ministry has established five tourism brands at the Coast to marketed as tourist destinations.

They include Diani, Mombasa, Watamu, Malindi and Lamu which are key destinations for Kenyans to experience for holidays.

Today (Monday), the Ministry of Tourism will launch signature products where 30 people won awards for making products that are sold to both the local and international tourists.

Balala said soon they will officially launch the Mida Creek circuit and the whole ministry will be there so as to attract more domestic tourists to experience nature and conservation enjoy the boardwalk and the dhow restaurant.

''We will officially come to launch this project, open it and see how best we can support them in their programs,'' he said.