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Last Updated:[11-10-2010 06:20:27 EDT] Zoom in Zoom out Back to Tradenews

Kenya Packages Tourism as a Key Source of Economic Growth

tradenews According to industry observers, the Kenyan tourism is experiencing a windfall in business this year after declining consecutively for last two years with political instability and global meltdown. Latest figures indicate international arrivals for the first half of 2010 is the highest recorded in the sector having surpassed 2007, the industry's best year, by over 5,000 tourists.

Mr Richard Yoga, Ashnil Mara Camp Manager, told the Business Daily that the facility had recorded high occupancy rates of over 90 percent compared to 40 percent earlier in the year mainly driven by tourists from Europe. The Western Europe apart from the US has always been a traditional base for Kenyan tourism.

Likewise, Sweet Waters Tented Camp general Manager James Odenyo says that in the past two months there have been a lot of activities in the Mount Kenya circuit, with occupancy rates rising to over 80 per cent. "The peace and stability prevailing in the country coupled with the ushering in of the new Constitution has catapulted tourism to greater heights of success," he said.

This year's good performance is attributed to a host of reasons including improvement in peace and government's tourism promotion in areas beyond traditional travellers' hotspots. Kenya is one of the few African countries that has tapped its tourism potential which includes expanses of wildlife, and most importantly archaeological sites that carbon dates human origins.

Lately tourism has become the largest revenue earner of Kenya than the previously solely dependent agro-industry. The tourism growth which is directly linked to Kenya's GDP is expected to be 4.2 percent this year, and will continue to grow at 4.3 percent through 2020.

By June 482,950 international tourists arrived in Kenya, a 17 percent growth as compared to the same period last year. Earnings during this period stood at Sh41.24bn compared to Sh21.86bn during the same period in 2009, according to the recent data by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics.

In 2007, the country received over one million visitors with earnings reaching Sh65bn. Tourism is believed to provide jobs to at least 400,000 in the organized sector and more than 600,000 is absorbed by the unorganized sector of the Kenyan workforce.

By Jose Roy

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