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The signing ceremony was witnessed by Principal Secretaries for Shipping and Maritime Nancy Karigithu and Julius Korir of State Department for Youth/FILE

Kenya

Tourism sector up 5pc in 2019’s peak season, far from projected estimates

Tourism industry players were expecting more visitors in December 2019. /CFM-FILE.

NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 26- Tourists have slightly increased by five per cent in the coastal region, Samburu and Maasai Mara during this festive season, lower than was projected by industry players.

Chief Executive Officer of the Kenya Association of Hotelkeepers and Caterers Mike Macharia told Capital News that the terror attack that happened in Nairobi’s Dusit D2 in January contributed to the low growth.

“The terror attack on Riverside Drive slowed things down a little but the good news it did not affect the sector as much and also the prompt action by the government during that time created more confidence,” said Macharia.

The terror attack claimed the lives of 21 people, including foreigners in what was blamed on Al Shabaab terrorists who used radicalised Kenyans to launch the attack. More than 700 people were safely evacuated during the attack that lasted for two days.

In 2018, tourist numbers increased by 20 percent that was attributed to improved security witnessed throughout the year.

Macharia, however, said there the uptake in Naivasha has slowed down as compared to the same period last year.

“Christmas season lasts till the first week of January the only place that has a little bit of a challenge is Naivasha because of the road which is actually bad but everywhere else we are seeing some high occupancies,” Macharia added.

Kenya heavily relies on tourism as a source of foreign exchange after agriculture.

According to the World Travel and Tourism Council report, Kenya is now positioned as the third largest tourism economy in Sub-Saharan Africa coming after South Africa and Nigeria.

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