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Latest data from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics indicates that the total number of visitors arriving through the Jomo Kenyatta and Moi International Airports decreased to 72,730 in February 2017 from 79,690 in January 2017/FILE

Kenya

Believe it, Kenya’s air travel sector flying higher than most

East Africa region as a whole has grown by 11.2 per cent. Photo/FILE.

East Africa region as a whole has grown by 11.2 per cent. Photo/FILE.

NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 21 – Kenya’s air travel sector is the most improved in Sub–Saharan Africa from January to August 2016—according to a travel research firm ForwardKeys.

The firm states that Kenya’s air travel grew by 14 per cent in the period under review compared to its Sub-Saharan Africa counterparts Ethiopia 9.6 per cent, Tanzania 10.6 per cent, Mauritius 11.6 per cent and South Africa is up 11.4 per cent.

East Africa region as a whole has grown by 11.2 per cent.

ForwardKeys Chief Executive says this is an impressive performance as growth for Africa as whole has been 5.6 percent, with countries like Algeria, Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia seeing little growth or even a decline.

“We are seeing a tale of two Africas, with North African countries suffering from political instability and terror activities and Sub Saharan African countries powering ahead,” he added.

Looking ahead to the remainder of the year, the research firm says the picture is highly encouraging for East Africa.

International bookings for travel to East African countries up to the end of December are 17.3 per cent ahead of where they were at this time last year.

The data has been released ahead of AviaDev, a new airline route development conference and AHIF, Africa’s highest profile hotel investment conference, which run concurrently in Kigali from October 4, to October 6, 2016.

Statistics from the Central Bank of Kenya also indicate an improved performance of the tourism sector as the Monetary Policy Committee survey shows strong forward bookings in major tourist hotels in Nairobi, Mombasa, Eldoret and Nakuru.

In October 2016, the forward tourist bookings currently stand at 63 per cent, November 55 per cent and December 51 per cent.

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The tourism sector has raked in Sh47 billion in the first six months of 2016, a 14 per cent increase compared to the same period in the previous year, with projections of hitting the Sh100 billion mark by the end of the year.

Arrivals at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) grew by 13.3 percent, while Mombasa Airport arrivals grew by 13.8 percent during the period under review compared to the same period last year. A 3 percent increase in cross border tourism was also noted.

Domestic tourism was the best performing in the period under review, with a 56 percent increase compared to the same period last year.

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