•In January Kenya has recorded 2000 bookings to Kenya, South Africa 1500, Jordan 1000 and Egypt 1700, despite the month being Kenyas offseason.
•Intrepid announced plans to pump more investments in Kenya to grow the 10,000 annual customers it commands.
Tours and travel industry players are optimistic to reap this year with numbers projected to rise owing to the tensions and war in the Middle East.
Intrepid one of Kenya's premium tour operators is projecting an increase in its revenue from the local market to rise to $19 million Australian dollars (Sh2 billion).
Intrepid Travel managing director of Europe, the Middle East and Africa of Zina Bencheikh said that already the Middle East tensions have driven Kenya’s tourism numbers up in January 2024 above South Africa and Egypt.
In January the firm has so far recorded 2,000 bookings to Kenya, South Africa 1500, Jordan 1000 and Egypt 1700, despite this being Kenya's off-season.
“Our revenue targets this year for all our markets is $700 million Australian dollar out of which we are expecting Kenya to perform well and generate $19 million Australian dollars (Sh2 billion),” Zina told the Star.
The firm is optimistic that the removal of visa requirements, the rise of wellness and experiential travel and the digital transformation of tourism processes will be among the key factors driving up travel trends in 2024.
Intrepid said it plans to scale investments in the premium market segments in the country to grow the 10,000 annual customers it currently commands.
“We are investing in this region and have purchased a lot of vehicles for increasing our premium products. We are seeing a trend where travellers are coming for more expensive products and that’s what they want,” added Zina.
Intrepid managing director Samuel Karani said the expansion plan is driven by the realisation that current product range doesn’t cover the depth and breadth of regional destinations.
The average age of travel tourists is currently at 45 with the younger travellers being attracted by basic cheaper and adventurous trips.
The older crew (baby boomers 55 years and above) on the other hand are attracted by premium and comfort kind of trips
“The millennial demographic is seeking out authentic, immersive experiences rather than simply visiting traditional beach and bush attractions. They want to immerse themselves in new cultures, learn about history first hand, and participate in local customs and traditions,” said Karani.
Between January to October 2023, Kenya saw 1.6 million visitors, representing a 34 per cent increase compared to the same period in 2022, which recorded 1.2 million visitors, a significant step toward full recovery post Covid.
The 2023 figures represent a 93 per cent recovery level compared to 2019 and against the global average of 84 per cent.
Business and MICE visitors ranked third in terms of purpose of entry in 2023, accounting for 24.8 per cent of international arrivals from January to October 2023.