The Ministry of Tourism has projected international arrivals to surpass one million in 2022 with earnings expected to hit Sh172.8billion as the sector recovers from the effects of Covid-19.
According to a report prepared by the Tourism Research Institute(TRI), Kenya registered a 53.29 percent growth in the number of international visitor arrivals with 870,465 visitors, as compared to 567,848 in 2020.
Tourism Cabinet Secretary (CS) Najib Balala said the positive outlook was informed by increased vaccination across the country.
“The numbers are still low, but we are optimistic that we will eventually go back to our all-time high international visitor arrivals that is 2019, or even surpass it. This is because the majority of our masses are vaccinated and international visitors will have faith in our destination again,” he said
According to the report, the 2021 performance was undermined by the upsurge of the Delta variant of Covid-19 during the first quarter but registered steady growth from June to December.
“This is an indication of a steadily growing trust for the Magical Kenya destination, which can be credited to renewed marketing efforts as well as confidence in the country’s efforts to contain the spread of Covid-19,” said TRI.
The growth was also supported by innovative products offered to both domestic and international markets by major players mainly hotels and domestic airlines.
Hosting major sporting events specifically the WRC –Rally and the World Athletics Under 20 also helped a lot to rebuild confidence in destination Kenya.
Regionally, the first 2022 issue of the UNWTO World Tourism Barometer revealed that Africa saw a 12 percent increase in arrivals in 2021 compared to 2020, though this is still 74 percent below 2019.
According to the Barometer, international tourism rebounded moderately during the second half of 2021, with international arrivals down 62 percent in both the third and fourth quarters compared to pre-pandemic levels.
“We expect a rebound in 2022, mostly during the third quarter. But international arrivals are not likely to return to 2019 levels until 2024 or later,” said a panel of experts at UNWTO.