Tourist numbers to Kenya over the last six months of this year registered a 0.7 per cent decline compared to the same period last year.
According to new figures released by the Tourism and Wildlife Ministry yesterday, the country received 921,090 tourists up to June compared with 927,797 visitors in a corresponding period last year.
Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala said yesterday despite the slight drop, the numbers are encouraging and expressed optimism that the sector will still hit its full-year target.
“These latest statistics paint a rosy picture. This is very encouraging and is courtesy of you all here. I urge all of you to continue to put more efforts to ensure that we surpass our last year’s general performance at the end of the year,’’ said Balala.
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The CS spoke at the Kenya Association of Hotelkeepers and Caterers (KAHC) 17th edition annual symposium in Kwale County.
Last year, the country earned Sh157 billion from the sector compared with Sh119.9 billion in 2017. During the period, the country received 2,025,206 tourists, up from 1,474,671 international arrivals in the previous year.
Balal lauded KAHC for organising the annual event that brings together stakeholders to take stock of the progress in the tourism sector. “I acknowledge the very good collaboration my ministry has had with KAHC and look forward to a better partnership in the future,” said the CS.
He challenged industry players to collectively start implementing the National Tourism Blueprint 2030.
The document, which is developed by the ministry, aims at reforming the sector by focusing on the four key pillars - product, marketing, investment and infrastructure.
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“These are expected to drive the sector to greater heights. It is thus prudent to engage all key stakeholders to work together to realise sustainable tourism development in the country,’’ said Mr Balala.