Kenya ranked top destination for US visitors

Tourism and Wild Life Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala (left) pose in a selfie with Kenyan delegation to USTOA meeting in the United states of America (US). The delegation included Kenya Airways (KQ) and US travel writers.

At least six in 10 international travellers plan to visit Kenya in the next three months with the US recording the highest relative share of bookings at 30 per cent.

It is followed by Germany at eight per cent and United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the United Kingdom (UK) at four per cent each according to a report by lobby, the Kenya Associating of Travel Agents.

According to the Outlook on Recovery report, the US is also Kenyans’ first choice of destination.  The report indicates Kenyans travelling outside the country, prefer to stay longer due to the destination nations’ protocols on containing the Covid-19 pandemic.

It notes that there has been a 20 per cent increase in searches for 20 days and above stays in multiple destinations searched by Kenyans. “The need for longer vacations or stays by Kenyans to various destinations can be attributed to quarantine requirements of about two weeks in various destinations, and a general interest or need for longer vacations which can be seen as making up for restricted travel in 2020,” the report reads.

The findings have been mined from the Amadeus search and agency booking, a travel technology firm that compares data for 2020 and 2021. 

It notes that while travel demands remain below pre-Covid-19 levels owing to international travel restrictions in Europe, North America and Asia; June 2021 has seen a growth in searches and bookings to East Africa.

“During the same period, there has been a growing demand for inbound travel into Kenya from the US, Germany and UK” reads the report in part. “Domestic travel searches remain high as people are looking to travel more within the country.”

The data projects a positive outlook for travel during 2021, with a gradual increase in searches. “For instance, the average daily search activity of international travellers interested in Kenya in June was 10 per cent higher than the year-to-date average. In July it was already 31 per cent above the 2021 average,” reads the report.

Most searches for travel to Kenya in 2021 originated mainly from the US, 43 per cent of total demand, followed by Germany eight per cent, the UK seven per cent and Canada four per cent. “The US also recorded the highest relative share of bookings at 30 per cent followed by Germany at eight per cent and UAE and UK at four per cent each.

Demand for Kenyans to travel to destinations outside the country has also been increasing steadily in the past two months according to the report.

“The average daily search activity of Kenyans in June was eight per cent higher than the year-to-date average and in July it was 35 per cent above the 2021 average,” notes the report.

“The most searched destination by Kenyans in June 2021 was the US with 30 per cent of total demand, Tanzania five per cent, United Arab Emirates five per cent and the UK four per cent.” In East Africa, Tanzania is the leading destination travelled to by Kenyans, especially for leisure activities.

This demand is driven by relaxed Covid-19 border restrictions for Kenyans visiting the country.  

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