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Kenya eyes 3 million tourist arrivals by 2015

21 November 2013, 09:11

Nairobi - The government said Wednesday it aims to lift the number of tourists visiting the country from the current average of 1 million to 3 million by 2015.

Principal Secretary for the Ministry of East African Community, Commerce and Tourism Ibrahim Mohamed said the Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) and private sector players are also changing strategy in how they sell Kenya as a destination to the new and potential markets.

"The numbers we are receiving today from Kuwait and the region are not as high as they should be. This is mainly because there is no proper awareness about Kenya's distinct tourism products," said Mohamed during a visit to Kuwait.

"Today, people are going to other destinations which have the same facilities and attractions we have in Kenya," he said in a statement.

The tourism industry is one of the major contributors to Kenya's GDP, which is currently estimated to be around 12 percent.

The GDP rate has been steadily increasing and it has a spill over effect on other segments of the economy as well.

The country recorded 1.78 million tourist arrivals in 2012, a 0.3 percent decline from the previous year. This is attributed to many factors including insecurity and the euro zone crisis.

Kenya's tourism has been grappling with a decline since September 2011, when the Somali militant group Al-Shabaab carried out the kidnappings of tourists and Spanish volunteers.

The KTB's Managing Director Muriithi Ndegwa vowed to use market development representatives to carry out continuous research that will ensure that Kenya remains relevant to potential tourists from Kuwait.

Ndegwa said they see a positive situation where more Kuwaitis begin to explore Kenya as their new destination.

"We expect a real leap in the number of visitors from the region in the coming years. We also look at ways of setting the ground for creating more awareness about our products and destinations, so that people can increasingly visit our destinations," Ndegwa said.

- Xinhua

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