Tourist arrivals from South Africa up 38% on visa free plan

Kenya is among the top destinations pitching at the three-day WTA Africa expo in Cape Town.

In Summary
  • The number of tourists grew to 37,370 compared to 27,103 in 2022.
  • Africa has a population of about 1.2 billion people
Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) chairman Francis Gichaba and KTB CEO June Chepkemei at the board's office in Nairobi.
Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) chairman Francis Gichaba and KTB CEO June Chepkemei at the board's office in Nairobi.

The easing of visa restrictions and enhanced travel trade partnerships are some of the strategies that have seen visitor arrivals from South Africa to Kenya record a 38 per cent growth.

The Southern African market by the end of last year registered 37,370 arrivals into the country compared to 27,103 in 2022, translating to a 38 per cent increase.

Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) together with 16 Kenya tourism travel trade are currently pitching camp at South Africa’s World Travel Mart (WTM) in Cape Town city to woo travellers into the destination.

KTB CEO June Chepkemei says that the recent visitor arrivals paint an encouraging picture of the potential to further grow the market through strategic partnerships and initiatives that would cement ties and provide the impetus for more travel between the two countries.

"As we take part in the 2024 WTM Africa, we are excited by the tremendous growth witnessed from South Africa and the larger African market that has continued to be an important visitor source for Kenya," said Chepkemei.

This, she noted, is buoyed by a raft of recent developments including the waiving of entry fees for passport holders from South Africa and other African Nations aimed at boosting tourism and attracting business into Kenya.

“As part of our strategy to grow more numbers in Kenya, we are well aware that the African continent is a low-hanging fruit to focus on as we nurture our footprint in a highly competitive global tourism landscape.

"Africa has a population of about 1.2 billion people, if we harness this potential well, we this continent can fully sustain our tourism sector," she added.

Kenya is among the top destinations pitching at the three-day WTA Africa expo that is taking place at the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC), Cape Town from April 10 to 12.

At least 7,500 participants drawn from various markets globally and across the continent are expected to participate in the annual event It is one of the six shows under the WTM portfolio aimed at bringing the benefits and opportunities of the global industry expertise to travel professionals in Africa.

According to the KTB CEO, air connectivity and the diversity of the destination offering has made Kenya a preferred destination for the South African traveller.

She lauded national carrier, Kenya Airways, for enabling seamless air connectivity between Nairobi and South Africa, with the national carrier operating direct flights to Johannesburg and Cape Town.

“We are keen to working with more partners so as to firmly stamp our presence in the region and showcase all the facets that make Magical Kenya a destination of choice," added the CEO.

After a string of successful marketing initiatives including roadshows in the West African markets of Nigeria and Ghana as well as a charm offensive targeting East Africa travellers during the recent WRC Safari Rally, KTB has its sights set on marketing Kenya to fully tap into all facets of the African travel market.

In the latest tourism performance report, Kenya attracted 1.96 million arrivals in 2023 with a majority or 41 per cent share coming from the African market.

KTB aims to grow Kenya's market share in Africa to six per cent, buoyed by the potential presented by key events like WTM Africa to make further inroads.

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