Domestic travel grows past tourism board targets

Local tourists at a public beach in Mombasa. PHOTO | FILE
Local tourists at a public beach in Mombasa. PHOTO | FILE 

Domestic travel grew by 14.6 per cent in 2016 beating the target set by Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) last year.

Kenya National Bureau of Statistics data indicates that Kenyans took 3.6 million bed nights in 2016 compared to 3.1 million in 2015.

Last year, KTB projected that sector would grow by three per cent after it embarked on aggressive marketing campaigns to lure local tourists.

“Domestic tourism is as important as international tourism and we want Kenyans to embrace and promote it. We have products that are tailored to the local tourists,” said KTB chief executive officer Betty Raddier.

According to KTB, domestic tourism has potential that needs to be harnessed and there is a need to push for local tourism to sustain the operations of the hospitality industry; should international arrivals dwindle as elections approach.


Despite efforts made by the government agency, domestic tourists continue to decry the high rates by hotels, citing the reason as the greatest impediment when planning for local travel.

A report released in October by Cytonn Investments called on local hotel operators to come up with attractive incentives that compel locals to patronise their facilities.

“Make bookings early because anything done last minute is bound to be expensive. We are encouraging those who cannot go on family holidays during high-season because of the cost to take advantage of the low-season for bargains,” said Mike Macharia of Kenya Assoiciation of Hotel Keepers and Caterers.

An outlook by Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) shows that forward bookings in major tourist hotels are in line with seasonal trends and prospects for the sector remain high in 2017. 

According to the CBK, the economy is expected to remain resilient on macroeconomic stability, lower energy prices and the recovery of tourism sector.