By Macharia Kamau
Tourism industry started the year on a low, with the arrival numbers for the first two months of the year seeing a significant dip in the number of international arrivals.
The month of February posted the largest decline, with international visitors coming to Kenya through the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) dropping significantly.
Tourists shunned Kenya as the country prepped for its general elections that took place March.
Data by Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) shows that the number of international arrivals through JKIA went down by 39 per cent to 48 970 in February this year. This is compared to 80, 405 in February 2012. It is also a significant decline to the numbers seen a month earlier – January 2013 – where arrivals stood at 85 538.
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Combined arrivals for February through JKIA and Mombasa’s Moi International Airport – the two main ports of entry to the country for international visitors – stood at 73 001. This is comparison to 105, 041 over the same month last year and 111 984 in January 2013.
The KNBS data shows the international visitor numbers declined 35 per cent on a month on month basis, comparing the arrival numbers in the first two months of the year. The number of visitors arriving through Jomo Kenyatta International Airport and Moi International Airports declined substantially by 34.8 per cent.