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Tourist arrivals decline as travel advisories hit industry

03 September 2014, 21:01

Nairobi - The country's tourist arrivals through its two main airports in the second quarter of this year declined significantly as travel advisories due to insecurity take a toll on the sector.

The East African nation received 172,258 tourists through Jomo Kenyatta and Moi international airports in Nairobi and Mombasa respectively, down from 248,722 during a similar period last year, according to new data from Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) received on Wednesday.

It is the first time in over two years that the numbers have fallen to such a level.

The period from April to June is usually characterized by high arrivals as tourists flock into Kenya to watch the spectacular migration of wildebeests from Serengeti game reserve in Tanzania to Mara in Kenya.

This year, Kenya did not receive more than 70,000 tourists in a month during the quarter.

In April, only 66,650 tourists came into Kenya, which dropped from 91,602 in March.

Also read: Tanzanian challenges violence-hit Kenya as regional tourism hub

Things went further south in May, with arrivals into the East African nation through the two airports dropping to 58,301.

In June, arrivals dropped to a record of 47,307, the worst in the country's recent history.

In 2013, Kenya received 68,424 tourists through the two airports in April, 74,523 in May and 97,775 in June.

Terrorism has taken a toll on the country's tourism sector as several Western nations, including France, U.S., Australia and Britain, issued travel advisories to their citizens.

Kenya Association of Hotelkeepers (KAH) and Kenya Union of Domestic, Hotels, Education Institutions, Hospitals and Allied Workers (Kudheiha) last week noted that players in the sector have lost up to 455 million U.S. dollars due to insecurity.

Kenya has suffered a series of terror attacks orchestrated by the Somali militant group Al-Shabaab. Many tourists, according to players in the sector, are now going to Tanzania, which expects its tourist numbers to hit 2 million by 2017.

Tourism Cabinet Secretary Phyllis Kandie on Tuesday said Kenya is negotiating with Western nations so that they can revise their travel advisories since security has improved. 

 - Xinhua


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