CS Balala points to growth despite 1% drop in H1 2019 tourist arrivals

July 4, 2019 (2 weeks ago)
Tourism CS Najib Balala said there is need for government and tourism stakeholders to work together on the  implementation of the National Tourism Blueprint (NTB) 2030/Photo – Charles Mghenyi

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 4 – The tourism sector is expected to grow by about 10 percent in the remaining six months of 2019.

Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala however noted a less than one percent decline in the number of international arrivals into Kenya in the first half of the year compared to the same period last year.

At a tourism stakeholders meeting during the 17th Kenya Association of Hotel-keepers and Caterers (KAHC) Annual Symposium, CS Balala said that that the number of international arrivals into Kenya was 921,090 for the past six months.

“This figure is slightly low compared to 927,797 international arrivals recorded last year. This represents a slight decline of 0.723 per cent since arrivals for the same period in 2018,” said Balala.

The Tourism CS was however upbeat noting that the first six months of the year are usually the low season for the tourism sector.

Balala added that the decline in numbers was mainly reported for the arrivals within the East African region, but the traditional source markets for Kenya remained strong clarifying that the decline was on cross border not the international arrivals.

“Jomo Kenyatta International Airport and the Moi International Airport recorded an impressive performance,” said Balala.

He said JKIA received a total of 623,371 arrivals and Moi International Airport received 61, 739 arrivals, while other airports had 10,426.

“This is very encouraging and is courtesy of everyone playing their part positively. I urge all us to put in more effort to ensure that we perform better by the end of this year,” said Balala.

At the same time, the CS said there is need for government and tourism stakeholders to work together to start implementing National Tourism Blueprint (NTB) 2030.

He said the Blue Print, which the Tourism Ministry developed to re-direct the tourism sector by focusing onfour key pillars – Product, Marketing, Investment and Infrastructure – is expected to drive the sector to greater heights.

He emphasizes the need to engage all key stakeholders to work together to realize sustainable tourism development in the country.

“I gladly note that several of our establishments and stakeholders are doing a lot to improve our tourism products, through refurbishment of existing products, investment in new products, quality of service delivery and digital marketing,” he said.

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