Kenya hopes to book 1.46 million tourists by the end of the year as the sector’s recovery gains momentum from the adverse effects of the pandemic.
Outgoing Tourism Secretary Najib Balala expressed confidence, citing growth in domestic tourism and value addition.
Mr Balala, while opening the Magical Kenya Tourism Expo (MKTE) 2022 at the Bomas of Kenya on Wednesday, said the estimated arrivals would translate to Sh265 billion in receipts.
“Last year, we recorded 870,000 visitors into the country with revenue receipt of Sh146 billion, and by close of this year, we have better prospects since things have begun looking up”, he said.
The expo, with over 250 exhibitors, has attracted buyers from key source markets, including the US, Asia, Europe, and Africa.
Mr Balala said the participants from about 30 countries demonstrate Kenya’s global attractiveness for investment in tourism development.
“MKTE 2022 represents the aspirations of the tourism sector in Kenya and Africa; it shows that the sector is ready to kick off, and we are ready for business,” he said.
“This is a great platform to sell Kenya to the global tourism market, and we are confident that within these three days, we shall see some interesting developments as we look forward to building on the already existing partnerships between our tourism industry and global players.”
Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) chief executive officer, Dr Betty Radier, said the 2022 expo is part board’s efforts to revitalise tourism in Kenya as it focuses on Africa and other emerging markets.
“We are delighted to have the event return in-person after two years. Last year we held the event virtually to ensure that the sector did not lose out on any opportunities,” she said.
“As we continue to work towards our vision of a thriving tourism industry, we are determined to support this vital sector by providing an environment that will attract visitors and enable them to connect with the best in local hospitality, culture and heritage,” said Dr Radier.
The expo is a business-to-business show different from holiday fairs targeting consumers.
The three-day event will run until Friday, October 7.