TOURISM NUMBERS

Kenya received 305,635 international tourists in first half of 2021 - report

94,241 came to visit family and friends, 92,828 for meetings.

In Summary

• A report released by the Tourism Research Institute on Thursday noted that of the 305,635 arrivals, 94,241 came to visit family and friends, 92,828 for meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE) purposes.

• According to the report, the top five source markets are the USA (49,178), Uganda (31,418), Tanzania (31,291), China (18,069), and United Kingdom (16,264).

Tourists alight from a chartered flight operated by Tarom Air and organized by Kenyan tour company Private Safaris East Africa landed at the Moi International Airport, Mombasa.
Tourists alight from a chartered flight operated by Tarom Air and organized by Kenyan tour company Private Safaris East Africa landed at the Moi International Airport, Mombasa.
Image: JOHN CHESOLI

Kenya received 305,635 international arrivals in the period between January 2021 to June 2021, a report has found.

A report released by the Tourism Research Institute on Thursday noted that of the 305,635 arrivals, 94,241 came to visit family and friends, 92,828 for meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE) purposes.

Other include 87,629 for holiday, 15,811 were on transit, 8,637 for education, 3,592 for medical purposes, 1,722 for religious purposes, and 1,175 for sports.

According to the report, the top five source markets are USA (49,178), Uganda (31,418), Tanzania (31,291), China (18,069), and United Kingdom (16,264).

The major points of entry in terms of air transport are Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (218,992), Moi International Airport, Mombasa (16,054), and Wilson Airport (1,305).

Other points of entry constituted 69,284 arrivals.

“We are encouraged by the numbers although we are not there yet. Because this is only a fifth of the two million visitors we received in 2019,” Tourism CS Najib Balala said.

“But we understand this is because of the Covid-19 pandemic and the lockdowns that ensued which affected the travel trends this year. “

Balala said the UK dropped to the fifth position due to the effects of the unfair travel restrictions and putting Kenya in the Red list despite our Covid-19 numbers giving a different scenario.

“But we are still engaging and we hope these travel restrictions will be lifted not only by the UK but across the world. Meanwhile, we are still continuing to observe safe travel,” Balala said.

Early in the year, Mombasa received another batch of visitors from Ukraine, marking a boost to a tourism sector left in ruins by the Covid crisis.

The 180 tourists arrived at the Moi International Airport in the second rotation of the Bees Airline chartered plane.

This was the second plane in 10 days after the first one made its maiden arrival in the country on April 17 with 189 tourists onboard.

Mombasa is expected to sign a couple of agreements with other world cities as it strives to diversify its tourism products to include business and sports.

In March last year, as the world was still grappling with the new Covid-19 pandemic, Mombasa received a delegation of tour operators from Ukraine.

They had come to Kenya, through a sister cities programme.

Thedelegation from Odessa, Ukraine, was on a familiarisation tour of Mombasa city as a potential tourist destination for Ukrainian adventurers.

The Mombasa County Government and the Ukraine Embassy in Kenya organised a meeting for tourism operators and travel agents for Kenya and Ukraine in Mombasa.