Efforts by the government through the Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) to market the country as a preferred tourist destination have also significantly raised the country’s profile globally, attracting more business and leisure travellers.
International Visa cardholders increased tourism spending from Sh32.9 billion in 2010 to Sh37.6 billion in 2011.
According to Visa’s travel data, the total individual transactions rose 19.6 percent from Sh161.5 million in 2010 to Sh187 million in 2011.
Visa Country Manager for Southern and East Africa Jabu Basopo said the rise in visitor spending is good news for the economy because more people are coming to see the wonders of Kenya and it’s a credit to the efforts of those promoting Kenya as a prime tourist destination.
Of the top three source markets, German tourists increased their spending by 30.2 percent over the same period, followed by the United States, up 12.9 percent, and the United Kingdom at 4.8 percent higher.
There was also a notable sharp increase in spending from Australian visitors with a rise of 30.2 percent, as well as those from South Africa going up 25.4 percent.
Kenya reaped more from strong spending in the peak tourist months of July, August and December 2011 with visitors spending 19 percent, 22.3 percent and 20.1 percent more.
Inbound travellers spent 20.8 percent more on air travel in 2011 and 20.6 percent more on other travel and entertainment, while retailers in general merchandise like clothing, wines and liquor, antiques and jewellery raked in 22.8 percent more from traveller spending during the same period.
According to Visa, increased consumer education and partner acquisition, coupled with enhanced visibility of point of sale (POS) machines at merchant outlets has contributed to the increased traveller spend.
Efforts by the Kenyan government through the KTB to market Kenya as a preferred tourist destination have also significantly raised the country’s profile globally, thus attracting more business and leisure travellers.
Kenyans increased their spending on their Visa cards in 2011 by 13.7 percent with total spend up from Sh7.7 billion to Sh8.7 billion and total transaction volume rose by 12.7 percent.
“Not only are more people visiting Kenya, but thanks to the growing prosperity of our country, we are spending more as we travel the world,” Basopo said.
According to Visa travel data, the top three destinations for Kenyan tourists were the United Kingdom, South Africa and the United Arab Emirates with the latter seeing a sharp increase in spend of over 20 percent.
These three markets accounted for more than a third (36.1 percent) of total spending by Kenyans travelling abroad.
The peak months for overseas travel by Kenyan Visa cardholders, according to Visa travel data, were July, October and December 2011.