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Tourism arrivals in the country down 13 pct in 2015

28 February 2016, 16:24

Nairobi - The number of tourists who visited Kenya in 2015 through its two main airports Jomo Kenyatta in the capital Nairobi, and Moi in the coastal city of Mombasa, went down 13 percent.

The drop in the arrivals showed that the sector is not out of the woods yet, even as several Western nations, including Britain and U.S. lifted travel advisories against Kenya.

According to the latest data from the Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) received Friday, Kenya registered 748,771 tourists through the two airports in 2015, down from 861,396 in 2014, a drop of 112,625.

Moi and Jomo Kenyatta airports are the main entry points for tourists coming into the East African. However, few others come through the Indian Ocean via cruise ships.

Last year saw Kenya receive about five cruise ships each carrying an average of 1,000 visitors, some who were on transit to neighbouring nations.

According to KTB figures, most of the tourists visited East Africa's biggest economy in the third quarter, with the number standing at 208,397.

The fourth quarter came second with 192,915 tourists while the first came third with 177,085 and the second last with 170,374.

Once vibrant and a top foreign exchange earner bringing in over a billion U.S. dollars annually, Kenya's tourism industry has taken a major beating in the last three years due to terrorism acts perpetuated by the Somalia-based Al-Shabaab militants.

Earnings from tourism in 2014 went down 7.3 percent to 861 million from 1.35 million arrivals, down from 970 million dollars from 1.52 million tourists in 2013, according to KTB.

With the drop in the number of tourists last year, the earning are expected to plummet further.

The Kenyan government is making spirited efforts to revive the sector, which including running a 51 million U.S. dollars campaign, change of cabinet secretary and improvement of security.

"Following terrorism incidences in 2014, the government has prioritised security and allocated significant resources to support the security agencies. The strategy focuses on strengthening the coordination among security agencies and scaling up investments towards modernisation," the Treasury said in a statement.

New Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala noted recently that it will take at least two years for the sector to recover as the government beefs up security and boosts funding.

- Xinhua


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