The number of international passengers arriving at Kenya’s airports declined 72% to 470,971 tourists between January and October compared to 1,718,550 registered last year in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.
As a result, the country lost an estimated Kshs. 110 billion in direct earnings from international visitors during the period.
During the period, Kenya earned just Ksh 37 billion against Kshs 147.5 billion the sector that had been projected before the pandemic.
Out of the total arrivals, visits to family and friends accounted for 35.32%, business 35.11%, in transit 6.32%, medical 1.53%, and education 1.18%.
“The decline in holiday travel numbers is an indication that only essential travel is happening and the holiday market will take longer to recover,” said the Tourism Ministry said in a statement.
“We are not out of the woods yet, but we are optimistic the situation will gradually improve once the vaccines being developed become available to the masses,” Cabinet Minister, Najib Balala said.
Tourism contributes to 10% global GDP. International arrivals to Kenya in 2019 were at about 2.2Million, unfortunately due to the pandemic, the numbers dropped to about 400,000 in the first 10 months of 2020. @Min_TourismKE @StateHouseKenya #SustainableOceanEconomy pic.twitter.com/Ut3HTwNi8P
— Hon. Najib Balala (@tunajibu) December 3, 2020
With the resumption of international flights, the country has recorded gradual growth in arrivals registering 14,049 arrivals in August, 26,018 in September, and 39,894 in October respectively.
During the 10 month period, Uganda was the leading source market with 60,399 arrivals, USA 53,444, Tanzania 43,649, the UK 42,341, and India 25,251.