Published December 16, 2013
Kenya is eying three million tourists by 2015, three times the current average of a million arrivals.
Ibrahim Mohamed, Kenya Tourism and Commerce Principal Secretary says that both Kenya Tourism Board and players in the private sector are working on making Kenya a top tourist destination.
Apart from the traditional tourists from Europe and the USA, the country is seeking more tourists from the East and from within Africa.
Mohamed further indicated the countryâ€™s plans to increase the number of tourists from Nigeria to about 50,000 in 2013. With the current direct flights by Kenya Airways between Lagos and Nairobi, there is a better access to Kenya by the visitors from Nigeria.
Diran Oloyede, Sales Manager of Kenya Airways in charge of Nigeria, says the airline will launch a direct flight from Abuja to Nairobi in 2014 so as to handle the expected increase of travellers to Kenya.
Kenya Airways currently flies to Lagos ten times a week. Kenya received 23,000 tourists from Ghana and Nigeria in 2012.
Tom Amolo, Kenyaâ€™s High Commissioner to Nigeria, assures travelers of safety and high potential in travel, tourism and other economic activities.
The country is also seeking to create awareness in the East and more specifically in Kuwait. The numbers of tourists visiting from Kuwait are way too low, and this has been attributed to little awareness in the region.
Accounting for 12% of the countryâ€™s GDP, tourism is one of the main boosters of the Kenyaâ€™s economy.
With 1.78 million tourists in 2012, the country recorded a 0.3% decline from the previous year. This has been attributed to several factors such as Euro zone crisis as well as insecurity. Incidents like the terrorist attack on Nairobi’s West Gate shopping mall are negatively affecting the tourism sector.
Fatima Bashir, acting Marketing Manager of KTB, assures tourists that Kenya is a safe destination to take their holidays.
Bashir says Kenya has set up a special tourism police unit with officers deployed in all major towns around the country. She says Kenya has an around the clock call centre in all tourist vehicles that keep them in touch with the Nairobi police unit.
The current expansion of the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) and the establishment of a single visa for the East African Community-member countriesâ€”Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundiâ€”is a step forward to making this region a number one destination, Bashir says.
The completion of the fourth terminal at JKIA will increase the number of passengers by 2.5 million. These are among the many strategies put forward that will enable the country utilize its full potential in the tourism sector, Bashir says.