Tourism sector records slow growth due to elections

By Special Correspondent

According to statistics from the government, the tourism sector recorded poor growth due to an extended political season but the city of Mombasa tourism defied the status to remain buoyant.

Kenya National Bureau of Statistics data indicates that international visitors entering the country through Moi International Airport in Mombasa recorded an increase of 912 to hit 10, 729 compared to a similar period last year.

International arrivals through Jomo Kenyatta International Airport went down from 87, 141 to 79,053 compared to a similar period last year. The Kenya Tourism Board attributes this to the extended electioneering period.

The stats further show a deep in the total number of international visitors entering the country through the two main airports-Moi International Airport and JKIA from 105, 241 July 2016 to 89, 782 in August this year.

For the first half of the year, international visitors into Kenya increased by 10.7 percent. This was attributed to continued meetings, conference, and exhibitions.

The Kenya Association of Hotel Keepers and Caterers were optimistic of a continued growth especially in coastal Kenya owed to the aggressive marketing campaigns the country undertakes to international markets. The chairman Sam Ikway affirmed that the Kenyan market has matured and demonstrated by its buoyancy to the political campaigns.

According to him, only domestic tourism suffered a bigger blow during the August season as they expected many students to visit Mombasa.

He further expressed optimism of a bumper holiday for the tourism sector in December as international numbers continue to increase.

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