US Cements its Position as Kenya’s Top Source of Tourists thanks to KQ Direct Flights


By John Wanjohi

The United States has maintained its place as Kenya’s top source of tourists, according to the latest data from the Tourism Research Institute (TRI).

The latest TRI data shows that arrivals from the US grew by 8.4 percent (14,617 visitors) in the first nine months of the year.

In the nine months to September this year, the number of American tourists increased to 188,933 from the 174,316 visitors recorded in the same period last year.

TRI attributed the sustained growth in the number of visitors from the US to direct flights by national airline Kenya Airways, e-visa process, and marketing campaigns.

Kenya Airways recently marked one year since the launch of nonstop flights between Nairobi and New York.

Uganda, which revived its national carrier in August after two decades and launched direct flights to Nairobi, overtook Tanzania to become Kenya’s second top source of visitors.

In the period under review, Uganda recorded a 6.2 percent growth in the number of visitors to Kenya from 152,481 to 161,963.

Tanzania recorded 142,249 visitors by September, a decline of 12.4 percent from the 162,341 in the same period last year.

Similarly, the United Kingdom, which for a long time contributed the highest number of tourists to Kenya, had its arrivals shrink by 3.5 percent to 134,895 by September compared to 139,856 last year.

Arrivals from India plunged by 5.5 percent from 99,237 recorded last September to 93,804 this year while Chinese arrivals expanded by 0.7 percent from 67,222 to 67,687 visitors this year.

The government is presently undertaking an aggressive ‘Magical Kenya’ promotional campaign to sell Kenya as an attractive destination to audiences in the US, Europe, India, and China.

Data by TRI show that 50 percent of the international arrivals in 2019 came from East Africa, the US, the UK, India, and China.

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