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Kenyan tourism on the up

28 June 2013, 12:08

Mombasa - Kenya expects tourism revenues to rise four percent to 100 billion shillings ($1.16 billion) this year, helped by higher visitor numbers after a peaceful election, the state-run tourism board said on Friday.

A peaceful transition of power to President Uhuru Kenyatta after the closely contested election in March has helped rebuild Kenya's reputation as one of Africa's most stable democracies.

Fears of a repeat of violence after an election five years ago when more than 1,200 people were killed had slowed activity in the tourism sector, the country's second highest income earner after agriculture, before the March vote.

"The growth (in 2013 arrivals and revenues) would have been bigger but election uncertainties distressed the first quarter of the year," Muriithi Ndegwa, KTB managing director, said in an interview in Mombasa.

"That is why we have requested 500 million shillings from government for a tourism marketing recovery programme to help compensate for the dip between January and March."

The first quarter of 2013 experienced an 18 percent drop in number of international arrivals to Kenya, registering 255,256 tourists, down from 312,258 recorded in a similar period in 2012, Ndegwa said.

He said tourist arrivals should rise 10 percent to 1.4 million visitors this year, up from 1.2 million in 2012.

Ndegwa said the country was targeting new markets like Brazil, Mexico, Morocco and Zambia, Ethiopia and Uganda.

German airline Condor, which operates five direct flights per week to Kenya from Germany in winter, and four per week in the summer, said it intended to introduce another direct flight from Vienna, Austria, to Kenya beginning in November.

"We are planning for 30, 270-passenger flights per year to bring an additional 8,000 tourists to Kenya annually," Ilona Germes,

Condor's international relations and government affairs manager, said at a hotel industry conference on Thursday, adding this was subject to Kenya government's approval.

The airline flies directly to Mombasa and Nairobi from Germany and brings in 40,000 passengers per year.

- Reuters

Tags tourism

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