Kenya tourist arrivals fall 72 percent on Covid woes


Tourists tour the Maasai Mara Game Reserve. FILE PHOTO | NMG

International arrivals fell 72 percent in the 10 months to October compared to a similar period last year, highlighting the adverse effects of the coronavirus disease on the tourism sector.

Kenya recorded 470,971 tourists between January to October compared to 1,718,155 international arrivals in a similar period last year.

Data from the Tourism Research Institute shows that 166,347 or 35.32 percent of the tourist came to visit friends and families while 93,817 were on holiday. A further 165,358 were business travellers.

The tourism industry started its gradual return to activities in August with the resumption of international and domestic flights.

“The country recorded a gradual growth in arrivals, since the resumption of international flights, registering 14,049 arrivals in August, 26,018 in September, and 39,894, in October respectively,” Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala said in a statement on Thursday.

“A near-total collapse of international arrivals occurred between April to July due to the travel restrictions, and then a slight improvement took place after the resumption of international flights in August 2020.”

The data shows that the top five international arrivals by country are Uganda (60,399), the US (53,444), Tanzania (43,649), UK (42,341), and India (25,251).

The tourism industry has lost Sh37 billion in direct international tourism receipts for the period under review, reflecting the adverse effects of Covid-19.

Kenya earned Sh163.6 billion from the sector last year, a 3.9 percent rise from Sh157.4 billion in 2018.