A new research by World Tourism and Travel Council (WTTC) has revealed that travel and tourism in Kenya grew faster, exceeding the regional average and that of other economies in sub-Saharan Africa.
In 2018, Travel & Tourism grew by 5.6 per cent and contributed Sh. 790 billion and 1.1 million jobs to the Kenyan Economy. This rate is faster than the global average of 3.9 per cent and the sub-Saharan Africa of 3.3 per cent.
International tourists spent over Sh.157 billion in Kenya in 2018 accounting for 15 per cent of total Exports.
Notable inbound source markets increase were from United States of America (USA) at 11 per cent, United Kingdom at 9 per cent, India at 6 per cent, while Germany and China were at per at 4 per cent.
“All Travel and Tourism combined with the amount spent in the period of the travel in various facilities and hotels supported the country’s GDP at 8.8 per cent in 2018,” revealed WTTC President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Gloria Guevara.
Guevara, in a media brief in Nairobi noted that Africa is one of the greatest success stories in the world of Travel and Tourism and Kenya is a popular and renowned destination and thus should tap in the opportunity to attract even more tourists to the country.
“I acknowledge the vision of President Uhuru Kenyatta and his commitment to Travel &Tourism and the Ministry under Najib Balala for growing tourism which resulted to over two million visitors for the first time in 2018,” noted Gloria.
On his part, Tourism & Wildlife Cabinet Secretary (CS), Najib Balala revealed the government has continued to improve infrastructure and security noting that despite the Dusit D2 attack, there was a maintained growth of 1 per cent due to the professional and well-coordinated response by the security apparatus and responsible journalism exercised by the local Media.
He revealed that his ministry is still pushing for the closure of the domestic ivory market in Japan and European Union so as to curtail the illegal poaching of the endangered Elephants.
“Kenya still stands strong on ban on ivory trade and has demonstrated its commitment by burning our stockpiles of Ivory and are urging the South African Development Community (SADC) agitating for a lift on the ban so as to sell their ivory to reconsider their position and come on board and join Kenya and the rest in conserving the Elephant,” said Balala.
He also said that the government is targeting 240 million travelers from the non-traditional markets of China and India and to this end; he will be meeting the private players to strategize and look into repackaging of products to suite the target markets.
“We also intend to be more vigorous in our campaign in our Europe and USA and to reach even more countries in these regions, as well as repackage for the Market,” said Balala
“Flights to the USA are set to increase to four in April depending on the season and we will take advantage of this to boost tourism and Travel,” he added.
“We envisage 1.8 billion arrivals by 2030 and air transport will almost double from 4.2 to 8 billion and I challenge the airlines and the investors in tourism sector to take the challenge and expand for the good tidings,” advised the CS.
By Simon Githogori