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Published on : Sunday, June 14, 2015
According to a report by the Kenya Tourism Board, tourist arrivals between January and May this year were 96,900 fewer when compared to a similar period last year.
That follows a fall of 4.3 percent a year before.
The number of visitors from Britain, the biggest contingent, fell by 35 percent to 36,022 in the period.
Tourist arrivals from the United States dropped 22 percent to 30,083.
Tourism is a vital foreign exchange earner for Kenya, riding on palm-fringed beaches and safari trails.
However, a two-year slump for the tourism sector has forced some hotels to either downscale operations or shut leading to job losses which has been blamed on the weakening of the shilling to 3-1/2-year lows.
The reduction is blamed on the effects of terrorist attacks in parts of the country over the last two years.
Kenya has been hit by a series of attacks by Somalia’s al Shabaab Islamists in the past two years.
Gunmen raided Nairobi’s shopping mall in 2013, coastal towns in 2014 and a university in April this year.
More than 400 people have been killed.
“Tackling insecurity decisively remains the top priority of the government’s strategy to sustain the growth momentum of the economy while creating jobs and reducing poverty,” Finance Ministry Henry Rotich said in Thursday’s 2015/16 budget speech.
This pronouncement by Rotich perhaps serves to underscore the state of affairs in the tourism sector that has been on the decline.
His budget for the year starting July 1 allocated 5.2 billion shillings for tourism recovery.