Published December 31, 2012
United Arab Emirates (UAE) tourists visiting Kenya increased 90% in the first eight months of 2012, according to the Kenya Tourist Board. This makes the Emirates the fastest growing inbound market for the East African country.
The tourist board has been assiduously marketing Kenya to Emirati families, honeymooners, intrepid adventurers and explorers.
“In addition, we have been proactively approaching corporate travellers to consider Kenya as an ideal location for magical events,” says John Chirchir, the tourist board’s regional marketing manager.
The UAE for the first time made it into Kenya’s top 10 list of countries of inbound tourists, with the number jumping to 26,574 in the January to August period, up from 14,019 during the same months in 2011.
A total of 800,00 tourists arrived in Kenya over the latest period.
One attraction that may appeal to UAE corporate travellers or executives with some time for leisure are the luxury golfing safari packages.
These offer the chance to tee off at one of Kenya’s 40 golf courses while also enjoying the country’s beautiful beaches or game parks. “Golfing is increasing in popularity in the Middle East and compared to Asia, Europe or the United States, Kenya can offer golf enthusiasts the world’s most desirable courses at a fraction of the cost, while enjoying a unique holiday with their families,” says Mr Chirchir.
The oldest course in Kenya is the Royal Nairobi Golf Club, founded in 1906. The most recent is Vipingo Baobab Golf Club. Jetsetters favour the Mount Kenya Safari Club set on the slopes of Africa’s second highest mountain. Most clubs also offer well-appointed chalets, fine dining, spas, swimming pools and tennis courts. Kenya benefits from being just a four-hour flight from the Arabian Peninsula and the number of local airlines serving the country is growing.
Etihad Airways of Abu Dhabi recently joined Emirates Airline of Dubai, Gulf Air of Bahrain, Qatar Airways of Qatar and Saudi Arabia’s Air Arabia and Saudi Arabian Airlines among those flying to Kenya from the Middle East.