By Ogova Ondego
Published June 3, 2014
Even without the adverse travel advisories that United Kingdom, United States, Canada and Germany slapped on Kenya in March 2014, the number of international tourists arriving in the country has been on a steady decline.
Phyllis Kandie, Kenya’s Tourism Minister, says the country received 1.4 million tourists in 2013 compared to 1.7 million in 2012. This led to a loss of revenue from Sh96 billion in 2012 to Sh93 billion in 2013.
Attributing the drop to spates of terror attack, anti-travel caution, poaching and the country’s introduction of taxes on tourism, the Tourism Secretary said the country had witnessed a 15% drop of tourists in 2013 compared to 2012. The decline, she said in Nairobi, affected all the top five countries from which Kenya receives tourists.
She said the country whose target is to register at least three million international tourists annually is focusing on domestic as the main source of income.
Saying her ministry had in April 2014 put together a 14-member Tourism Recovery Committee to advise the Government besides addressing the growing security threat to the tourism sector, Kandie–in a speech read on her behalf during 19th National Tourism Competition at Utalii College–Kandie said Kenya’s devolved system of government could participate in activities aimed at boosting the tourism sector.
Businessweek of Nairobi reports that the country’s tourism sector has already lost more than US$59 million following the cancellation of bookings that had been made between up to October 2014.
Quoting Mike Macharia, Chief Executive Officer of the Kenya Association of Hotel Keepers and Caterers, the paper says about 900 tourists have left the country and that there is need to salvage other bookings for the peak season in November.