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Tourism Minister Najib Balala


Tourism numbers on the rise

NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 25- The Tourism industry has released its half year figures with an estimated Sh40.5 billion generated in revenue compared Sh35.08 billion collected in 2010.

Tourism Minister Najib Balala said the increase was in line with a 13.6 percent boost in arrivals compared to last year which had been termed the most successful year for the industry.

“There has been an overall of 13.6 percent growth with 549, 083 tourists while last year during the same period was 483,468 tourists. The best performing countries were as follows; the United Kingdom- 14.3 percent increase, USA- 9.3 percent. Italy stood at 7.9 percent while India overtook France to become the highest source market for the first half of 2011,” Mr Balala affirmed.

The Minister said they were in talks with the Ministry of Health to resolve the controversy surrounding the Yellow Fever issue as it is hampering more tourists from coming to Kenya.

“We hope to resolve the issue of Yellow Fever. We have held meetings between the Tourism Ministry and the Ministry of Health. Hopefully it will be able to push the Who Health Organisation (WHO) to remove Kenya from the Yellow Fever map. This is crucial for the country, the ‘Yellow Fever’ tag is discouraging tourists from coming,” he stated.

As expected, Jomo Kenyatta International Airport had the highest share of inbound traffic compared to Moi International Airport Mombasa with 79 percent of the total arrivals coming in through JKIA and 21 percent through Mombasa.

Europe still remains the main source market at 46 percent followed by Africa with 26 percent. The Americas stand at 12 percent, with Asia at 11 percent.

The minister added that international tourism will continue growing in 2011 for the second consecutive year, but at a slower rate, between four to five percent according to statistics released by the United Nations World Tourism Organisation.

Africa and the Americas are tied in third place with an expected growth of between four to seven percent.

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