Tourist arrivals grew by 10.6 per cent this financial year, according to Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) chief executive officer Betty Radier.
Ms Radier said the industry’s growth was bolstered by yielding markets such as the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, India and China.
Speaking at Diani Reef Beach Resort in Kwale on Friday during a Kenya Association of Hotelkeepers and Caterers (KAHC) annual symposium, the KTB boss attributed the growth to the government’s tourism recovery campaigns locally and international markets.
However, she added that the Ministry of Tourism will soon hold a press conference in Nairobi to give detailed information about the tourism growth.
“In the last five years, KTB has been focusing on tourism recovery by convincing the international markets that Kenya is safe for holiday in a bid to overcome the challenge of insecurity perception,” she said.
She added: “Following security improvement in the country and the positive image building campaigns have paid off as the international markets now have confidence in the Kenyan destination.”
But Ms Radier said the tourism recovery will depend on how the country conducts the August 8 polls.
“If the country achieves peaceful elections, then the industry has the potential to recover given that tourism posted a 10.6 per cent growth this financial year,” she said.
For tourism to post further growth, the KTB boss urged political leaders and their supporters to carry out their campaigns peacefully.
On the issue of Morocco and Egypt receiving international tourist arrivals of between 10 million and 11 million each, she attributed it to the two North African countries being short haul destinations.
“Kenya is a long haul destination and as a result, travel costs are much higher than those of Morocco and Egypt,” she said.
“But despite that, KTB is taking advantage of the local premier products such as beach and safari, diverse cultures as well as unique and authentic experiences to woo more international holidaymakers.”
In order to build up the international tourist numbers, Ms Radier said KTB would focus more on markets which yield good results.
She also added that the marketing agency was working towards promoting the country in new markets in efforts to increase international visitor numbers.
On Thursday, Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala threatened to cut the Kenya Tourism Board’s marketing budget if the team fails to deliver the desired results.
Mr Balala said although the government had been allocating a substantial amount of money for marketing to KTB, the country was not getting much value for its money.
He added that in the last two financial years, the government had allocated Sh2 billion for marketing.