Uganda is Kenya’s third source for tourists

Kenya’s biggest trading partner Uganda, is now also the country’s third tourist source, going by the 2017 statistics from the Kenya Tourism Board. Dr. Betty Radier, the CEO of the Board explained that they did some marketing from 2015 to 2017, pivoted by the country being the largest trading partner and the results have been outstanding.

In 2017, 61,542 Ugandans visited Kenya, unlike 2016 when the number was 51, 023. “This is a 20.6 per cent increase which shows the potential for regional countries to visit Kenya other than solely trade”, she explained.

Speaking to journalists, the Board CEO said they are keen on transforming the sector, to reduce the reliance on beach and safari products.

According to the Kenya Tourism Board, for every 11 tourists, one job is created, hence supporting the need to ensure growth in the sector will also create more jobs for Kenyans. Tourism contributes a tenth of the Growth Domestic Product and is the third highest foreign currency earner.

In addition to increasing foreign tourists, Dr. Radier was emphatic that the sector is heavily driven by domestic tourists. Out of the 1.4 million tourists recorded in 2017, 400, 000 were domestic tourists.

In terms of the top sources for tourists, the US is number one, followed by the UK, then Uganda, India and China in that order.

Holidaying tourists account for the majority of the country’s visitors at 67 per cent, followed by business and conferences at 14 per cent. Visiting friends and relatives is 10 percent and the rest accounts for the remaining 9 per cent.

Globally, group and mass tourism is declining which most tourists being independent travelers. “What this is telling us is that value of value must be part of the equation if we are to grow our tourism numbers,” she added.

Last week, Tourism stakeholders under the National Tourism Blueprint 2030 are targeting 4 million foreign tourists and 26.4 million domestic tourists by 2030 in order to make the sector more competitive. The initiative would will transform the country into an innovative, booming, vibrant, flexible and connected tourism destination. Through the masterplan, the sector would increase the number of direct jobs in the tourism industry to 561,800 by 2030.


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