Kenya received only 305,635 international tourists in the period between January 2021 to June 2021, a fifth of the two million it received in 2019, Tourism Minister Najib Balala.
Speaking on Thursday while launching the Tourism Research Institute’s international tourism performance report, he said the industry is encouraged by the numbers though still low.
“We are encouraged by the numbers although we are not there yet,” he said adding that “We understand this is because of the Covid-19 pandemic and the lockdowns that ensued which affected the travel trends this year.”
In 2019, the country’s tourism industry registered improved performance mainly attributed to growth in aviation, investor confidence and withdrawal of travel advisories. Tourism earnings increased by 3.9 per cent from Ksh 157.4 billion in 2018 to Ksh 163.6 billion in 2019 while the number of international arrivals increased by 1.2 per cent from 2 million arrivals in 2018 to 2.1m arrivals in 2019.
According to the report, the top five source markets are the USA (49,178), Uganda (31,418), Tanzania (31,291), China (18,069), and United Kingdom (16,264).
Out of the 305,635 arrivals, 94,241 came to visit family and friends, 92,828 for meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE) purposes.
The report focused on the number of international arrivals by points of entry, the purpose of visit, nationalities and gender from January to June 2021.
Others include 87,629 for holiday, 15,811 were on transit, 8,637 for education, 3,592 for medical purposes, 1,722 for religious purposes, and 1,175 for sports.