International arrivals declined by 8.8 percent to record at 1.1 million compared to 1.2 million recorded in the 2011-2012 financial year, with tourist arrivals at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) declining by 8.1 percent while arrivals through the Mombasa International Airport saw a 13 percent drop.
East African Affairs, Commerce and Tourism Cabinet Secretary Phyllis Kandie attributed the decline to the eurozone crisis, perceived insecurity in the country and the uncertainty over the March 4 General Election.
“The main contributing factor was the big drop witnessed in February with a drop of 30.5 percent and March at 26.9 percent due to electioneering,” she said.
Kenya’s main tourism source markets such as United Kingdom, United States, Italy and Germany recorded a drop in performance.
“The decline in the European markets may be attributed to the eurozone crisis; travel advisories delayed holiday bookings for 2012 due to the uncertainty of the date of the elections in Kenya and perceived insecurity,” she explained.
However Europe still remains the main source market with a share of 43 percent, followed by Africa at 24 percent.
America and Asia’s market share are at 13 percent while the Middle East is at five percent.
In terms of share of arrivals the highest contributors came from the UK with 14.7 percent US at 10 percent and Italy at 7 percent.
“For the Italian market, the cancellation of direct flights by Kenya Airways to Rome and reduces charter frequency has contributed to the decline of arrivals at Italy,” she stated.
India is the leading market for Kenya from Asia with a 10 percent growth compared to 2011/2012 financial year.
“This growth is attributed to the fact that Indians have more disposable income and are seeking new destinations and experiences, hence the growing demand for Kenya,” she said.
Regionally, Uganda remained the highest source market for Kenya with 56,844 tourist (those who came by air) accounting for a 44 percent increase while South Africa and Tanzania came second and third with 38,776 and 29,654 tourists respectively.
From the emerging markets, China grew by four percent to 38,482 visitors while the United Arab Emirates grew by 53 percent to record 44,526 arrivals boosted by strong market presence by the Middle East carriers flying into Kenya.
Holiday was the major purpose of travelling into Kenya in the period under review with a total of 77 percent of the total arrivals into Kenya having holiday as the purpose of visit.
Twelve percent decline of total international arrivals for the first half of 2013 (by air and by sea) closed at 564,261 in the same period in 2012.
She however says that a reversal of this trend was recorded in the months of May and June 2013, with June recording a positive trend of 0.9 increases against the same period last year.
She says that the affected markets will soon bounce back and more focus will be on tapping into domestic the regional market as well as the emerging markets like China, and the UAE.