US not Kenyaâ€™s largest tourism market
SEE ALSO: The Trump year and his escapadesLast year, this figure grew by 10 per cent with more than 960,500 tourists recorded through the two main airports. This growth was recorded despite the country going through a troubled election process that ground several other sectors such as manufacturing and retail for several months. It was thus with much optimism that Kenya’s national carrier Kenya Airways earlier this year launched direct flights to New York with the maiden flight set for October. Tourism Cabinet Secretary (CS) Najib Balala last week underscored the strategic importance of the new route during a briefing with tourism stakeholders and journalists in Nairobi. “Kenya Airways is going to New York and next to Atlanta…lets partner to address that market. It has high potential and is our number one market,” he said.
SEE ALSO: Guards seek pay hike in new planA closer look at the numbers, however, indicates that the US is in fact not Kenya’s largest tourism source market as claimed by the tourism CS. Kenyan residents actually occupied more than half (3.4 million) of the country’s six million hotel bed-nights indicating that domestic tourism is, in fact, the largest driver of growth in the sector. Germany came second with 685,400 while the rest of Europe and the UK registered 344,400 and 211,600 hotel bed nights respectively. The US is ranked fifth at 254,300 hotel bed nights. Not only is the US not Kenya’s leading source market as claimed by CS Balala, but the number of hotel bed occupancy attributed to US nationals has gone down 13 per cent over the past four years.
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