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January 20, 2019

Tourism sector roared in 2018, with revenues up 31.2 per cent

Tourists at Moi international airport from Poland August 20. /JOHN CHESOLI
Tourists at Moi international airport from Poland August 20. /JOHN CHESOLI

Last year was happy one in the tourism sector with a 31.2 per cent growth in revenues from the sector.

According to latest data from Ministry of Tourism and Wildlife, revenues totalled Sh157.38 billion in 2018 from Sh119.0 billion the year before, with the industry posting 68 per cent rise in guest arrivals.

International tourists rose to 2.025 million from 1.46 million in 2017, in what the government attributes to improved security in the country as the fight against terrorism continued to bear fruit.

Political stability after a shaky electioneering year in 2017 played a role in reviving business in the leisure sector, with the March 2018 handshake between President Uhuru Kenyatta and opposition leader Raila Odinga calming tensions that simmered after a long 2017 election year.

Local tourism grew 9.03 per cent from 3.64 million to 3.97 bed nights recorded.

It is interesting to note from the information that tourists from Africa took the lion’s share of visitors, with 40.76 per cent of visitors coming from within the continent at 825,489 entering. Tanzania was second source nation as 212,216 visitors from the neighbouring nation contributed 10.48 per cent of total tourists and Uganda came third with 204,082 visitors, or 10.08 per cent of the total source markets.

Kenya from Africa and the Indian Ocean states. It was followed by Europe with 30.33 per cent or 611,969 visitors. Some 78,388 came from Germany, 48,189 from France, 184,002 from United Kingdom. Spain sent 25,027 guests and Sweden 22,028.

USA was the top source nation for tourists into Kenya, with 11.12 per cent or 225,157 visitors visiting from United States.

While the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport point of entry welcomed 1.3 million visitors from 771,497 in 2007, the Mombasa International Airport numbers dipped to 118,113 visitors from 276,316 visitors in 2007.

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