International arrival numbers down 71.5%

Tourism sector in Kenya lost Ksh.110 billion in 2020

The number of international arrivals in Kenya dropped significantly when individuals chose to stay at home to minimise physical contact on the back of heightened coronavirus infections, according to the Economic survey 2021.

According to the survey, the visitor arrivals dropped by 71.5 percent from 2,035.4 arrivals in 2019 to 579.6 thousand in 2020.

The Kenya Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) says, the decline is as a result on the suspension of international passenger flights from March 25 to July 31 by the government as a measure to contain coronavirus spread.

“During the period under review, international arrivals and domestic departures declined mainly due to travel restrictions put in place to contain the spread of the virus,” stated KNBS in the report.

In 2020, tourism earnings declined by 43.9 percent from Ksh 163.6 billion in 2019 to Ksh 91.7 billion.

This after domestic tourism was equally constrained by restriction of movement of persons within Nairobi Metropolitan and Mombasa.

Consequently, suppression of most socio-economic activities during the second and third quarter of 2020 had a negative impact on domestic tourism.

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The Economic Survey 2021, further revealed, Hotel Bed-night occupancy contracted by 58.0 percent to 3,803.3 thousand in 2020.

KNBS said, the number of international and local conferences held shot down by 87.0 percent and 75.2 percent to 28 and 1,176 respectively in the same period last year.

Those who visited national parks and game reserves dwindled by 65.1 percent to 1,037.0 thousand in 2020.

Similarly, tourists who visited museums, snake parks and historical sites dropped by 83.8 percent from 990.2 thousand in 2019 to 160.7 thousand last year.

Late August, Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala noted that the country’s tourism sector is fastening it’s recovery on the domestic segment as other markets slowly opens up.

He said that as the sector steadily recovers, domestic tourists have proved to be the pillar contributing 80 per cent to the sector’s earning.

The Ministry is now in a strategy to develop products that are friendly to Kenyans who are currently the key source market.

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