4 September 2014

Kenya: Tourist Arrivals Down By 13 Percent in First Half

Visitor arrivals through the country's main airports have dropped by 13 per cent in the first half of the year as foreigners shun the country over insecurity, latest data show.

The Kenya National Bureau of Statistics data released late Monday show the number of visitors declined to 428,223 in the six months compared to 495,660 over a similar period last year.

Visitor numbers have been declining consecutively, with the exception of March. June recorded the lowest number of visitor arrivals over the period at 47,307 while January had the highest with a total of 95,759.

Visitor numbers were 50.6 per cent lower in June compared to January.

The data, supplied by the Kenya Tourist Board, includes arrivals of foreign nationals getting into the country via the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport and Moi International Airport in Mombasa.

Tourism players have previously faulted the KTB data, saying that the industry was getting fewer foreign visitors than recorded and that the state corporation captures data of foreigners on transit to neighbouring countries.

They said the KTB data also does not filter Kenyans returning home but who hold second passports under the dual citizenship plan, arguing they are not purely tourists and may not translate into business for the hospitality industry.

The drop in tourist numbers and business volumes for the tourism industry has been attributed largely to persistent insecurity which led to a series of travel advisories against some tourist hotspots in the country such as parts of the Coast region.

Dwindling foreign currency inflows from the sector and exports have been blamed for the recent slide of the shilling against major world currencies since May. The Shilling has weakened from an average of 87.41 to the dollar in May to a mean of 88.63 yesterday.

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