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Published on : Sunday, July 9, 2017
For many developing countries of the world, tourism is one of the main income sources. For Kenya, one of Africa’s leading tourism destinations, the tourism industry is the country’s second largest source of foreign exchange after agriculture. In 2016, the industry contributed over Sh100 billion in foreign exchange income, a 17.8 per cent growth over 2015 and contributed over 13.5 per cent to the GDP. The sector directly supports an estimated 250,000 jobs and an additional 350,000 indirectly.
International visitor arrivals grew from 752,000 in 2015 to 877,600 in 2016, which is a 16.7 per cent growth, and in the first four months of 2017, the arrivals grew 292,100 from 264,700 in 2016, registering a 10.3 per cent growth.
Currently, Kenya is serviced from the key long-haul source markets by five international full-service airlines that fly direct from their hub to Nairobi. The country’s national carrier, the Kenya Airways (KQ) also services directly seven long-haul international source markets. There are also a handful of European charter carriers that fly directly into Mombasa.
In comparison, South Africa (SA), which is also a long-haul tourism destination and considered as Kenya’s tourism benchmark, is serviced by sixteen international full-service airlines that fly direct to the country from their respective hubs. Their national carrier, South African Airways (SAA), services directly nine long haul international tourism source markets.
The Kenya Tourism Board (KTB), the national tourism marketing agency, in 2016 appointed a reputable international consultancy firm to work on the development of an air transport growth strategy for Kenya.