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Kenyan 2016 tourism arrivals increasing by seventeen per cent

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kenya’s tourist arrivals rose 16.7 percent in 2016 boosted by improved security and advertising in source markets.

The East African nation last year received a total of 874,385 tourists through Jomo Kenyatta international airport in the capital Nairobi and Moi international airport in Mombasa, its main entryways, latest data from the Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) showed Wednesday.

Other tourists, however, came through the Mombasa port via cruise ships and chartered flights, with industry players putting the figures at about 3,000.

Most of the arrivals during the period were recorded in the third quarter, where the East African nation clocked 262,149 tourists.

In the second quarter, arrivals stood at 186,685, in the first 206,224 while the fourth quarter 219,327.

The numbers are a huge improvement from 2015, where in the first quarter arrivals stood at 177,085, while the second, third and fourth quarters recorded 170,374, 208,397 and 192,915 respectively, the KTB figures contained in January’s Kenya National Bureau of Statistics data showed.

Data from KTB, however, indicates that last year there was change in trends for Kenya’s tourist sources, with arrivals from the United States, China and India going up.

The United States, with 97,883 visitors, topped the list of nations that had the largest number of tourists coming into the country, ousting the UK, Kenya’s traditional tourist source for decades.

"The UK has shown slight decline, while all the other markets have shown positive growth.

"This may be attributed to the Brexit that has led to a weaker pound, making other destinations more expensive hence reducing the number of tourists from Britain," says KTB in a recent report.

The rise in tourist arrivals is good news to the tourism stakeholders as the sector was on its knees following persistent attacks from the Somalia terror group Al-Shabaab.

Last year, Kenya curbed attacks in the capital Nairobi and the tourist-resort town of Mombasa, with Al-Shabaab only managing to hit towns bordering Somalia.

Due to improved security, several western nations such as the United States, UK and France lifted travel advisories they had placed on Kenya as a result of attacks from terrorist group Al-Shabaab.

The government further increased initiatives to revive the sector, which was once the country’s highest foreign exchange earner.

To fight terrorism, Kenya set aside 2.9 billion U.S. dollars on security investment to improve internal security, a measure that led to peace, and launched initiatives to lure charter services.

Further in the third quarter, the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) slashed its entry fees to national parks and reserves in a move aimed at making them regionally and globally competitive.

KWS said all fees were capped at 60 dollars for adult non-residents and 8.6 dollars for adult Kenyan citizens.



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