Kenya expects 2.1 million tourists this year

From left: Acting Tourism Research Institute CEO David Gitonga, UN Economic Commission for Africa Tourism Advisor Dr Geoffrey Manyara and Tourism Finance Corporation Managing Director Jonah Orumoi engage in a chat during a workshop in Lake Naivasha Resort last week. [Antony Gitonga, Standard]
The number of international tourists hit the 2 million mark in the last financial year earning the country some Sh157 billion, according to the latest data.

There are projections that the number could rise further this year with the Ministry of Tourism indicating that already more than 900,000 tourists have visited the country ahead of the high season.

This has been attributed to improved marketing, emergence of new markets and new tourism destinations. This emerged when stakeholders met in Lake Naivasha last week to formulate a Tourism Satellite Account (TSA), which will be used to measure the impact of the tourism sector to the economy.

Acting Tourism Research Institute CEO David Gitonga said the numbers could hit over 2.1 million.

He said the Tourism Satellite Account would ensure investors and stakeholders had latest data on time to help them prepare and market their businesses.

He said the project was designed to capture all aspects of tourism activities with a view to bringing out the true value of the sector’s contribution to the annual output.

“Development of TSA is done based on the TSA methodological framework developed by the United Nations World Tourism Organisation,” he said.

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Tourism Finance Corporation (TFC) Managing Director Jonah Orumoi said players in the sector had continued to invest heavily mainly in the counties. “The Tourism Satellite Account data will enable TFC make informed decisions in determining the specific investments to be done in different parts of the country,” he said.

Dr Geoffrey Manyara, Tourism advisor at the UN Economic Commission for Africa, said the project would be carried out in six months adding that this would make Kenya the fourth country to have a TSA.

He said in Africa, South Africa, Botswana and Rwanda have satellite accounts.

“Currently, Africa contributes 4.5 percent of tourists in the world and the TSA will market East Africa so that number of tourists can rise from the current 5.8m to 35m by 2024,” he said. Manyara said Kenya is currently targeting more visitors from Nigeria and Egypt, the new tourism markets.

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International touristsTourismMinistry of Tourism