Tourism earnings double to Sh167 billion on sector recovery

Tourism & Wildlife Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala speaking during tourism sector performance report January on 9th September 2022. [Wilberforce Okwiri, Standard]

The government has projected tourism earnings to hit Sh265 billion by end of this year as the sector continues to post a notable recovery from the Covid crisis.

New data by the Ministry of Tourism shows that earnings for the last eight months doubled to Sh167 billion from Sh83 billion in a similar period last year.

"Inbound tourism earnings grew to Sh167.098 million compared to Sh83.156 million during the same period in 2021. This represents a 101 per cent growth year on year," the tourism sector performance report said.

Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala, while releasing the report Friday said the sector is not out of the woods yet due to the lingering effects of the pandemic, witnessed in below-expected arrivals and earnings between January and August this year.

"Full recovery of arrivals to 2019 best year is expected in 2024. However, earnings could surpass 2019 figures by the year 2023 going by the trends in 2022," he said.

In the 2019 reference year, government data shows Kenya received 1.35 million tourists with a big chunk from within the continent and more than one million arriving by air.

In eight months of 2022, however, total arrivals reached 924,812 compared to 483,246 tourists in a similar period last year, with the United States emerging as the top source market at a 15 per cent market share.

Rwanda was second at 13 per cent with Uganda and United Kingdom tying at nine per cent.

On reasons for travel, "visiting family and friends" brought in 274,722 people while business and events drew 258,889 visitors.

Jomo Kenyatta International Airport led in international visitor arrivals with 681,811 tourists during the eight months compared to 355,781 in the corresponding period last year.

Moi International Airport registered 40,355 arrivals compared to 26,843 last year.

The data further shows Sh265.39 billion projections by end of 2022 supported by up to 1.4 million tourist arrivals by December.

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