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Shipping & Logistics

1.3 million visitors arrive via JKIA as Moi posts decline

Travellers at the Jomo Kenyatta International
Travellers at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Some 1.3 million tourists arrived into the country via Kenya’s largest international airport.

The Tourism Sector Performance Report 2018 shows that Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, the country’s largest and busiest airport, had a surge in guests with 1,342, 513 arrivals compared to 771,497 in 2007.

However, arrivals at Moi International Airport, Kenya’s second largest airport, declined with 118,113 visitors checking in compared to 276,316 in 2007. The other airports recorded 29,488 arrivals.

Other entry points of entry had 535,092 arrivals. According to the report, the purpose of the visits included holiday at 73 per cent, visiting friends and relatives 6.7 per cent, business and conferences 13. 3 per cent, and other purposes 6.4 per cent.

The top 30 source markets included the US, Tanzania, Uganda, the UK, India, China, Germany, Italy, South Africa and France.

Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala attributed the boost to: “Improvement of services at JKIA, direct Nairobi-New York flights, Air France making a comeback flying three times per week, Tui Fly charter airline starting flying from the Netherlands and Belgium to Moi International Airport Mombasa, and Qatar Airways Doha-Mombasa flights.”

Mr Balala also attributed the growth to withdrawal of travel advisories.

“The US lifted their blanket travel advisories, the UK similarly has only highlighted some locations that its citizens should not visit. The open border policy for Africans visa on arrival is also a driver for tourism growth,” he said.

The CS said opening up African skies also boosted the growth.

Diani Reef Beach Resort & Spa MD Bobby Kamani attributed the increase in tourist arrivals to marketing by the Kenya Tourism Board.

“The return of Air France to thrice weekly flights and TUI Fly Charter Airlines to the Coast instilled renewed confidence in the tourism sector based on efforts by stakeholders, the government and the Ministry of Tourism,” Mr Kamani said.

He said that private sector players also contributed to the feat by marketing their products in the local, regional and international markets.

Political stability and improved security last year also made Kenya a more attractive destination for international travellers.

Kenya also bagged several international conferences which instilled confidence in the country’s safety and capability to handle large delegations.

These included: “The sustainable blue economy conference, the international SKAL congress and the Africa Hotel Investment Forum,” said Mr Kamani.

Kenya also bagged several international conferences which instilled confidence in the country’s safety and capability to handle large delegations.

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