US, Uganda tourists rise on Nairobi direct flights

Tourists disembark from a cruise ship in Mombasa. PHOTO | KEVIN ODIT | NMG The US has extended its lead as Kenya’s top source of tourists after arrivals from the world’s largest economy increased 8.4 percent or by 14,617 visitors in the first nine months of the year.

American visitors increased from the 174,316 recorded in September last year to 188,933 over the same period this year.

The Tourism Research Institute (TRI) has linked the sustained growth to direct flights, e-visa process and marketing campaigns.

The surge marks one year since the Kenya Airways #ticker:KQ acquired new planes and introduced 15-hour nonstop flight sto New York.

Uganda, which also revived its national carrier in August after 20 years and relaunched direct flights to Nairobi has edged out Tanzania to become Kenya’s second top source of visitors. It recorded a 6.2 percent growth from 152,481 to 161,963 visitors.

Latest TRI data shows the rest of Kenya’s traditional source markets have either seen their volumes shrink or registered flat growth. The most notable drop involves Tanzania which recorded 142,249 visitors by September compared to 162,341 the same period last year, representing a 12.4 percent decline.

The UK, which for a long time contributed the highest number of tourists, has continued to shrink with arrivals dropping 3.5 percent to 134,895 by September compared to 139,856 last year.

And despite numerous forays into the Asian market, arrivals from India dipped by 5.5 percent from 99,237 recorded last September to 93,804 this year. Similarly Chinese arrivals grew at a near flat rate of 0.7 percent from 67,222 to 67,687 visitors this year.

PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) Hotels Outlook 2019—2023 report shows a surge in the number of tourists has resulted in the highest guest nights occupancy since 2013.

The report shows that the hotel market recorded a growth of 18.2 percent to 3.9 million in 2018 from 3.8 million in 2013.

“The occupancy rate of 53.2 percent was higher than our 49.3 percent projection, guest nights rose to 3.9 million, above the expected 3.6 million, and the 14.6 percent increase in room revenue was significantly above our 5.7 percent expected increase,” the report shows.Kenya Airways has reinstated daily flights to Gabon after a six-year absence. Air France announced three-weekly flights into the country and Qatar Airways increased flights between Doha and Mombasa.Additionally, the Kenyan government has been undertaking an aggressive ‘Magical Kenya’ promotional campaign which positioned the country as an appealing destination to audiences in the […]

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