Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala [ Photo :the-star.co.ke]
The Ministry of Tourism has projected international arrivals to surpass one million in 2022 with earnings expected to hit Sh172.8billion as the sector recovers from the effects of Covid-19.
According to a report prepared by the Tourism Research Institute(TRI), Kenya registered a 53.29 percent growth in the number of international visitor arrivals with 870,465 visitors, as compared to 567,848 in 2020.
“The numbers are still low, but we are optimistic that we will eventually go back to our all-time high international visitor arrivals that is 2019, or even surpass it. This is because the majority of our masses are vaccinated and international visitors will have faith in our destination again,” he said
Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala said the positive outlook was informed by increased vaccination across the country.
This also comes as Kenya’s tourism earnings grew by 65.4 percent last year to Sh146.51bn compared to Sh88. 56bn in 2020, Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala has said noting the sector is slowly recovering from the effects of Covid-19.
According to the 2021 sector statistics, the USA was the top source market for tourists with 136,981 arrivals.
Uganda came in second with 80, 067 arrivals followed by Tanzania and UK with 74,051 and 53,264 arrivals each.
Overall, international visitor arrivals in 2021 stood at 870,465 with Jomo Kenyatta International Airport being the leading entry point followed by Moi International Airport (48,749.)
From January to September 2021, the Tourism Research Institute (TRI) report noted that bed occupancy rates increased to 4,138,821 as compared to the same period in 2020 (2,575,812) recording a recovery of 60.7 percent.
This sustained recovery of the hospitality sector was largely supported by domestic travelers with domestic bed nights growing by 101.3 percent while international bed nights grew by 0.05 percent.
“These bed nights recovery trends are an indication that the hospitality sector in Kenya has largely been supported by domestic travel in 2021,” the report noted.