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Tourism sector responds positively to tranquil political environment

Alvin Mwangi @PeopleDailyKe

The tourism sector recorded better performance in 2018 compared to 2017. The growth is attributed to the stable political environment, withdrawal of travel advisories, improved security and investor confidence.

International visitor arrivals increased by 14 per cent from 1,778,400 in 2017 to 2,027,700 in 2018.

Number of hotel bed-nights grew by 20.1 per cent from 7,174,200 in 2017 to 8,617,900 in 2018.

The number of international conferences held increased by 6.8 per cent to 204 in 2018 compared to 191 in 2017. This was attributed to high profile international conferences in the country and visits by foreign dignitaries.

Kenya hosted the global Blue Economy conference, the First Ordinary Session of the African Union ministerial sub-committee on tourism, the 79th International Skal World Congress and the African Hotel Investment Forum.

Visitors to national parks and game reserves rose by 20.3 per cent to 2.8 million in 2018.

Overall, the sector recorded an increase in tourism earnings from Sh119.9 billion in 2017 to 157.8 billion in 2018.

Last year, Kenya also launched direct flights from JKIA Nairobi to JKF Airport, New York, return of Air France and Qatar Airways flights between Doha and Mombasa.

Local and intra-African tourism also increased significantly following  the removal of visa requirement for East Africa Community citizens.

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