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Agency air ticket sales soar by Sh2.5bn over the last two months

 A Kenya Airways plane at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) in Nairobi. FILE PHOTO | NMG
A Kenya Airways plane at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) in Nairobi. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Air ticket sales have rised by Sh2.5 billion over the past two months.

This follows following increased air connectivity in Africa and relative tranquility on the conclusion of Kenya's presidential election.

The Kenya Association of Travel Agent (KATA) said air ticket bookings increased by 15 per cent to Sh2.5 billion in March, a month that saw President Uhuru Kenyatta and rival Raila Odinga shake hands and pledge reconciliation for the country.

The total number of air tickets sold by the association had dropped by 10 per cent to 1.5 million between last July and August mainly due to travel restrictions in government and prolonged politicking that saw most travellers reduce cross-border movement.

“The total number of air tickets that we have sold in the last two months have increased by 15 per cent to stand at Sh2.5 billion,” said KATA chief executive officer Nicanor Sabula.

“The country is relatively peaceful as we speak. We are seeing increased business and now that the political impasse which almost broke this country apart is behind us, we see the figure rising to about Sh4.5 billion in the next three months.”

African tourists

According to data released by the Ministry of Tourism in February, Africa was the second largest source of tourists to Kenya in 2017 at 29 per cent behind Europe’s 36 per cent while the US came third at 15 per cent.

“We have seen an increase in the number of carriers that are coming into play. For instance, Air France is already here, Air India is coming and Qatar Airways is introducing a flight to Mombasa very soon.

"This means that there will be increased seat capacity on our airlines which is good news for us as KATA,” said Mr Sabula.

Tourist arrivals from the US and the United Kingdom grew by double digits, boosting earnings in the tourism sector by 20 per cent amid travel advisories by the two governments against visits to Kenya during that period.

International arrivals up

American and British arrivals grew by 17 per cent and 11 per cent respectively, spurring a nine per cent growth in total international arrivals last year to 1,474,671.

The UN World Tourism Organisation also says that 1.3 million tourists spent Sh100 billion in Kenya last year, a 17 per cent increase from the previous Sh85 billion.

The UN Agency reported total international arrival by air and sea increased by 16.7 per cent to stand at 877,602 tourists compared to 752,073 in 2016.