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
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
"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
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
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
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.