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Kenya's tourist arrivals drop in first 2 months

01 May 2013, 14:26

Nairobi - The number of tourists coming into Kenya in the first two months of this year dropped significantly as the country readied for polls, new data showed.

The tourist arrivals through Kenya's two main international airports namely Jomo Kenyatta and Moi dropped in January and February by 38 percent.

During the period, the East African nation was preparing for a transformative general election held March 4. The polls were conducted peacefully, with President Uhuru Kenyatta emerging victorious.

The most hit month was February, which saw tourist arrivals dip by 35 percent, from previous month's totals.

"The number of tourists arriving through Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) and Moi International Airport (MIA) declined substantially by 34.8 percent from 111,984 persons recorded in January 2013 to 73,001 persons," said the new data from Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) on the East African nation's economic indicators.

Of the two airports, JKIA experienced the most declines as tourists arrivals almost halved in February.

Kenya's biggest airport recorded 48 970 tourist arrivals, down from 85 538 in January. On the other hand, MIA recorded 24,031 arrivals, down from 26,446 in January, showed the data sourced from Kenya Tourism Board.

In January, the number of tourists coming into Kenya had dropped marginally after December high season.

"The number of tourists arriving through JKIA and MIA decreased by 3.2 percent from 115 655 persons recorded in December 2012 to 111 984 persons," said KNBS report dubbed Leading Economic Indicators for the month of March received Wednesday.

During the period, while JKIA recorded decline in tourist arrivals, MIA registered an increase.

The report indicated that tourist arrivals at JKIA in January dropped to 85,538, down from 92,365 in December. At MIA, the number rose to 26 446, down from 23 290 persons as many tourists headed to the coastal town of Mombasa, which has enchanting beaches.

The number of tourists who left Kenya in February through JKIA also dropped, from the January embarking. Similarly, number of passengers who landed also decreased during the period.

"The number of passengers who embarked at JKIA declined from 184 171 persons in January to 178 220 persons in February, while passengers who landed decreased from 183 819 persons to 178 202 persons in the same period," said KNBS.

Things had not been any different during the period between December and January.

"The number of passengers who embarked at JKIA declined marginally from 184 194 persons in December 2012 to 184 171 persons in January, while passengers who landed decreased from 183 972 persons to 183 819 persons in the same period," added the report.

The majority of tourists who arrived in Kenya during the two months under review, according to the analysis came from Europe.

The region led in the number of passenger arrivals, which stood at 41,605 in January, up from December's 41 137 persons.

In February, passenger arrivals from Europe, which encompasses France, Germany, Britain, Italy, Switzerland, among other nations, declined to 37 540.

Europe was followed by Africa and Asia, which contributed 37 496 and 30 972 persons respectively in February.

This was a slight decline from the previous month's arrivals, which stood at 38 563 for Africa and 31 486 for Asia, where passengers originated from Bombay, Dubai, Jedah and Muscat.

Over half of people entering Kenya from Asia come from Dubai. In February, the number of passengers from Dubai stood at 18 738 and in January 19 090.

Similarly, the port city account for over half of the number of people leaving Kenya, through JKIA to Asia.

In February, the city accounted for 18 756 persons of the 30 997 who left Kenya to Asia and in January 19 427 of the 31 764 who were destined to the region.

The high number of passengers going to and coming from Dubai into Kenya is attributed to vibrant trade between the East African nation and United Arab Emirates (UAE).

UAE is among the leading source of Kenya's imports. In February, Kenya imported goods worth 256 million U.S. dollars from the Asian country.

Also during the period under review, the KNBS reported indicated that Kenya's international trade slumped.

"Volume of trade declined from 2.1 billion dollars in January to 1.9 billion dollars in February. Similarly, total value of exports fell by 0.9 percent, while the value of imports fell by 11 per cent over the same period," said the report.

Food and beverages category was the main export category in February accounting for 42.23 percent.

- Xinhua


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