NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 15 – Kenya’s tourism earnings for 2011 were only Sh2 billion shy of the targeted Sh100 billion, thanks to an aggressive marketing campaign.
Tourism Minister Najib Balala said the sector recorded Sh98 billion, an overall growth of 32.9 percent owing to increased charter flights into the country.
“Only 800 cruise ships arrived. We understand this has gone down, the reason behind this is because the entire Indian Ocean circuit is not safe due to piracy,” Balala said.
Balala said the Ministry had requested for extra funds from the Treasury to capitalise on the upcoming April to June peak season.
“We are worried about 2012. I have had a meeting with the Ministry of Finance to request for further Sh200 million to aggressively market the country for the next three months, we will lose not only summer but also the winter period(s). We have a strategy for the next three months, if we get the funds, then definitely we will be much better for winter,” he said.
The sector also achieved its goal of attracting two million tourists into the country with the United Kingdom remaining the key source market with 16.8 percent of all inbound arrivals by air and sea.
Balala also stated that the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) figures show last year there was an increase of 4.4 percent which was up from 939 million travelers around the world in 2010 to 980 million last year.
“Our estimation as the Ministry of Tourism for cross border arrivals are approximately 700,000. The Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) estimation is 520,000- and I disagree with that figure. In 2007 cross border estimates stood at 630,000. How can we have grown economically and all East African States have a mutual protocol of trade? The figure should have been higher,” Balala affirmed.