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America overtakes UK as Kenya’s top tourist source market

The United States has emerged as the top source market for Kenya after overtaking tourist arrivals from the United Kingdom in the first 10 months of this year.

According to data released by the Kenya Tourism Board (KTB), 82,363 American visitors toured the country between January and October, surpassing 80,821 tourist arrivals from Britain.

During the period under review, tourist arrivals from the US increased to 82,363 up from 70,734 arrivals in the same period last year.

On the other hand, arrivals from the UK market dropped to 80,821 in the first 10 months down from 84,423, the previous year.

Third largest source market

India was the third largest market for Kenya with arrivals of 54,983 up from 41,257 the previous year while Uganda was fourth with arrivals of 45,116 up from 24,420.

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China took fifth position with arrivals of 41,459 up from 25,299 while Germany was sixth with 36,066 up from 30,806 while South Africa was seventh with 28,720 up from 25,819.

Italy was eighth with 27,933 arrivals while France and United Arab Emirates had 17,303 and 17,180 arrivals respectively.

During the period under review, international tourist arrivals to Kenya increased by 16.1 per cent to 729,682 compared with 628,345 arrivals the previous year.

International arrivals at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport grew by 14.8 per cent to 653,187 up from 569,815 the same period in 2015.

At the Moi International Airport, Mombasa, international arrivals grew by 26.1 per cent to 74,615 up from 59,194 the previous year.

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During the period, arrivals by cruise ships were only 1,880.

Of the 729,682 arrivals, 75 per cent came for holiday while 13 per cent visited the country for business and conferences.

Impressed by the increase

Last week, Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala, said he was impressed by the rise of tourists from the US market.

Mr Balala said international tourist arrivals to Kenya grew by 16 per cent in the period under review bringing hope of tourism recovery.

“To increase further the tourist arrivals from the US, the government will February next year host 3,000 American travel agents for them to familiarise with our tourism products,” he said.

The Cabinet secretary expressed hope that the industry would perform better this year bolstered by the surge in arrivals from the US, India, Uganda and China markets and other markets.

The increase in American tourists could be attributed to the lifting of travel advisories against Kenya last year.

The majority of tourists who arrive in the country by sea are Americans.

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