Kenya tourism to grow by 6% in the next decade but in need of human capital investment

Published on : Thursday, June 22, 2017

WTTCA new report by the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) shows that Kenya’s Travel & Tourism sector is larger than mining, chemicals manufacturing and automotive manufacturing combined. According to the WTTC Benchmarking report 2017, which compares Travel & Tourism to eight other sectors that have a similar breadth, the $700 billion Shillings generated by the sector to Kenya’s GDP in 2016 makes tourism rank fifth out of nine sectors in the report in terms of contribution to GDP.


The economic value of the business and leisure travel sector, which is 10% of GDP, is almost the same size as the banking sector. On employment, Travel & Tourism directly supports nearly three times as many jobs as the banking sector and more than twice as many jobs as the financial services sector in Kenya. 1.1 million direct, indirect, and induced jobs were supported by the sector in 2016, or 9.2% of the country’s total employment. Travel & Tourism GDP is expected to grow at an annual average of 6.0% over the next decade on Kenya, which just edges than the total economy at 5.9% and quicker than automotive manufacturing (4.3%) and agriculture sectors (5.1%).


“These figures show that the tourism sector is not only a major engine of economic growth in Kenya but it is also a creator of jobs. In Kenya, as in other countries, Travel & Tourism provides jobs across all levels of society and from the most remote rural area to the busiest city centre,” said David Scowsill, President & CEO, WTTC, who recently visited Kenya to speak at the Tourism Innovation Conference. The event held in Nairobi, was supported by Hon. Uhuru Kenyatta, President of The Republic of Kenya and organised by Kenya’s Minister of Tourism, Najib Balala. UNWTO Secretary General, Taleb Rifai, was presented with the Order of the Golden Heart of Kenya, Second Class Elder of the Golden Heart (EGH) at the conference.


According to a recent report by WTTC, Kenya will need another 500,000 people to serve the Travel & Tourism industry over the next ten years. In face of this forecast, Scowsill added: “Ultimately we are a people industry. We depend on quality people to deliver a quality product to our customers. In order for our sector to continue to boost the economy and livelihoods in Kenya it is hugely important to address the anticipated talent shortage. We need the right policies, programmes and partnerships in place, to ensure that the workforce of the future knows about the opportunities in Travel & Tourism in Kenya, and has the appropriate skills and knowledge to support future growth.”


Scowsill, concluded: “Kenya is a beautiful country with a great tourism product and (in the face of the upcoming elections) I call on the Kenyan government to continue to invest in the Travel & Tourism sector to foster the growth and further explore the great socioeconomic benefits ours sector has to offer.”


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