, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 10 – Earnings from the tourism sector have increased by 4 percent in 2019 to stand at Sh163 billion compared to the Sh157. 4 billion recorded in 2018.
Cabinet Secretary Tourism Najib Balala says the growth has been brought by increased international arrivals with many of the travelers within the age of 35-44.
“The tourism industry international arrivals grew from 2,025,206 in 2018 to 2,048,000 that led to the growth of the sector, at 1.2 percent,” said Balala.
The tourists entered the country through different passes with many of them using Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.
“Arrivals by air at JKIA grew by 8 percent while in Mombasa there was a rise by 6 percent, however, other points of entry such as the border registered a decline of 13 percent,” he added.
This is the first time the results are released at the beginning of the year compared to the tradition of a report at the end of the first quarter.
The majority of the tourists who visited the country under the review period were from the United States making 245,437 entries, Uganda came in second with 223,010 visitors as Tanzania followed having its 193,740 citizens coming to Kenya.
However, the sector was grappled with challenges that led to the sector experiencing minimal growth compared to its expectations.
“ The year started in 2019 with a Dusit attack but again the perception has not gone that is why the growth and the fear was real, the second problem we had was the reduced budget by the Ministry of Treasury and finally the slow down in the global economy, uncertainty of Brexit, and China woes with US,” said the Cabinet Secretary Tourism Najib Balala while presenting the sector’s outlook of 2019.
On the domestic front, a total of 4.9 million bed nights were taken by Kenyans in 2019 presenting a 10.4 percent growth recorded in 2018 of 4.4 million.
The growth has been credited to increased political stability throughout the year and the security situation was also stable with one terror attack that occurred under the review period.
Additionally, the World Bank Ease of Doing Business Report showed that Kenya improved five positions to 56 globally on attractiveness to investors up from 61 in 2018.