Tourism numbers rise to 1.5 million in 2022

By Elijah Odhiambo

Kenya recorded a surge in the number of tourists visiting the country in 2022, growing by 76.9 percent to 1.54 million compared to the previous year following an increase in the number of international visitors.

The Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS)’s most recent statistics reveals that arrivals climbed from 871,300 in 2021.

1.2 million people traveled through Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA), whereas 692,900 more people arrived at Moi International Airport.

“The increase was mainly on account of continued relaxation of COVID-19 travel restrictions in 2022,” KNBS said in the report.

Out of 1.54 million tourists, holidays represented 559,100, business (420,600), transit (75,800), and others (485,400).

“The number of visitor arrivals on holiday accounted for 36.3 percent of all international arrivals in 2022 while those on business accounted for 27.3 percent,” KNBS said.

However, arrivals were still low compared to the pre-Covid period, when the country welcomed over 2 million visitors annually.

Breakdown of the tourist arrivals

In the review period, hotel occupancy rose from 551,700 to 700,900, representing a 27 percent growth.

“The number of international conferences and delegates increased from 292 and 9,093 in 2021 to 896 and 23,105 in 2022, respectively,” the report added.

Similarly, the number of local conferences and delegates increased from 8,117 and 164,924 in 2021 to 9,662 and 615,373 in 2022, respectively.”

Likewise, visitors to national parks and game reserves increased by 69.1 percent to 254,300.

Trips to select museums, snake parks, and historical sites more than doubled from 403,700 to 843,700.

Reasons for visit

Leisure was the most popular reason for coming to Kenya during the period, with 39.6 per cent of arrivals being for holiday purposes.

Visiting Friends and Relatives (VFR) arrivals contributed 26 per cent of the total, with 344, 256 passengers arriving.

Business and MICE arrivals accounted for 26.1 per cent of the total, with 345,123 passengers arriving.

On-transit passengers also made up a significant portion of arrivals during this period, with 67,087 passengers arriving

January- November 2022 tourist arrivals

The country recorded a 74.5 percent jump in tourists visiting the country from January to November compared to the same period last year.

According to a performance update by the Kenya Tourism Board (KTB), the total number of arrivals in Kenya during the January – November 2022 period was 1,321,887 from 870,465 arrivals in the same period in 2021.

The performance means the destination has achieved 70.2 per cent recovery of the performance for the year 2019 which stood at 1.97 million arrivals.

The top five markets for arrivals in Kenya during this period were the United States; 190,187 (14.4 percent), Uganda; 132,942 (10.1 percent), the United Kingdom; 117,691 (8.9 percent), Tanzania; 110,603 (8.4 per cent) and India; 74,020 (5.6 percent).

The tourism sector was among the worst hit by the Covid-19 pandemic with most routes closing down and this saw many hotels shut down and millions of jobs lost, it has been on a recovery trajectory albeit slowly.



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