NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
Kenya’s tourism industry
is expected to witness remarkable growth in 2018 following
recognition by a handful of prestigious international awards
accorded to several tourist destinations in the country,
analysts have noted.
The country won five global tourist awards this year, further
elevating its status and fame across the world.
Kenya was in the first half of this year named the world’s
top Safari destination during the World Travel Awards held in
The east African nation beat regional competitors such as
Botswana, South Africa, Tanzania, Namibia, Zimbabwe, and Uganda
as it clinched the award for the fourth time. Kenya, having
previously won in 2013, 2015 and 2016.
Despite a challenging second half of the year, which was
characterized by intense politicking, Kenya won four other
awards at the World Luxury Hotels Awards 2017.
These are Africa’s leading national park, won by Maasai Mara
National Reserve; Africa’s Leading Tourism Board won by the
Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) for the sixth year running; Africa’s
luxury adventure destination and luxury tented safari camp won
by Sarova Mara Game Camp Hotel and best luxury hotel in the
continent and the luxury spa resort won by The Sarova Stanley
and the Sarova Whitesands Beach Resorts, respectively.
"In our view, the increased number of international awards
accorded to the Kenyan hospitality industry will market it
globally, increasing the number of arrivals in 2018," Cytonn, a
Nairobi-based investment firm, noted Monday.
The firm believed that beside the award, the sector would
grow because of a stable political environment and intense
marketing by the KTB.
"We have a positive outlook for the tourism sector for 2018,
further supported by an increase in international arrivals,
increased domestic tourism and continued marketing by the KTB of
Kenya as not just a Safari destination but also a Business
Tourism and MICE (Meeting, Incentive, Conference, and
Exhibition) destination," said Cytonn.
The number of international tourists visiting Kenya in the
first nine months of the year rose 10 percent to 720,376 as
compared to a similar period last year, defying election
jitters. In 2016, international arrivals rose 17 percent to
"If elections did not slow down the number of tourists
visiting Kenya, then in 2018 the figures can only go up,
especially due to the positive developments in the political
front and improved security as the government has offered
several incentives like removal of Value Added Tax charges on
national park fees," said Henry Wandera, an economics lecturer
Meanwhile, tourism stakeholders said hotels have recorded 80
percent booking during this festive season in the Coastal
Kenya Association of Hotelkeepers and Caterers (KAHC) said
Monday that 60 percent of the booking comes from domestic
tourists who are flocking into the region for the December
KAHC executive officer Sam Ikwaye said some hotels had
already reported 100 percent booking over the Christmas-New Year
"Hotels have recorded a significant increase in bookings as
numbers of domestic guests push up the occupancy to more than 80
percent this festive season.
"The packages are also friendly for guests, "said Ikwaye.
He said cottages and apartments are among hotels that have
recorded highest number of both local and foreign tourists.
Sarova Whitesands Beach hotel said 85 percent of its visitors
are domestic, with overall occupancy at above 80 percent.
Speaking to Xinhua, Ikwaye attributed the increase of
bookings to relative calm in the country following charged
political uncertainties, long holiday and the introduction of
the Chinese-built Nairobi-Mombasa Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) .
Ikwaye said tourist confidence in Kenya has increased
following the end of the electioneering period.
Tourism cabinet secretary Najib Balala said the country is
beginning to reap the fruits of aggressive efforts to boost the