Find Tourism and Travel partners in Kenya
The well-established tourism sector in Kenya contributed KES403.7bn to the economy in 2011. According to the World Travel and Tourism Council it provided 778,500 jobs (11.9% of total employment). The country was placed 54th in the world (out of 181 countries) in respect to its relative contribution to the nation’s economy, with a 13.7% share of GDP, just below the world average of 14% (WTTC 2011). The industry is the country’s largest source of foreign exchange. In 2010 the country saw 1,470,000 visitors. Europeans maintain their traditional position as the most numerous visitors to Kenya, making up around 60% of total arrivals in 2011. Africa is second with around 23%, followed by the Americas (9%) and Asia (9%). The United Kingdom is the largest country source market, followed by Germany, the USA and Italy. However, markets in the east are emerging, including China, Japan and India, alongside the emerging domestic market which has become an important contributor to the industry. In 2011 visitor exports generated KES171.1bn, constituting 18.6% of total exports. There are several public and private sector associations that bring together the Kenyan tourism industry, including the Kenya Association of Tour Operators, Kenya Association of Travel Agents, the Eco-tourism Society of Kenya and the Kenya Association of Hotelkeepers and Caterers. The state corporation Kenya Tourist Board promotes tourism internationally. In 2010 it was recognised as the ‘Best National Tourism Board in Middle East, Africa and Indian Ocean’ at the ‘Emirates Holidays World’ awards. In October 2011 the Board hosted the Magical Kenya Travel Expo in Nairobi, bringing together over 170 travel agents and trade media from Kenya’s source markets worldwide, enabling local operators to develop their marketing.
The wildlife of Kenya has traditionally been the main tourist attraction, with the country utilising its reputation as an excellent safari destination. The consequent focus that has been placed on wildlife preservation has seen Kenya developing into the premier ecotourism destination in Africa. The National Parks, notably the Masai Mara, Lake Nakuru, Amboseli and Hell’s Gate, remain the central focus of international tourism in the country. The diversity of landscape in Kenya is also a great draw, from the savannahs to the snowy mountains. The beaches of the Mombasa, Malindi, Watumu and Lamu are attractive destinations for both international and domestic tourists.
There has also been a growing focus on community based tourism projects throughout Kenya and it provides excellent investment opportunities. The benefits of such schemes have been seen in communities that have allowed access to their land and have seen their lifestyles improve through increased wages, land leases and development funds. Often the projects have contributed to the communities through the building of boreholes, schools and clinics.
Investment in travel and tourism in 2011 was KES44.4bn, constituting 7.5% of total investment. It was expected to rise by 6.8% in 2012, and then continue to rise by 4.5% pa over the following ten years to KES74.1bn by 2022.