Kenya’s international arrivals dropped by 91.2 percent in August compared to a similar period in 2019, showing the huge effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on the tourism sector.
Last month, the country received 14,049 tourists compared to 159,804 international arrivals in a similar period last year.
According to the data released by the Tourism Research Institute, 6368 or 45 percent of the tourist came to visit friends and families while 3685 were on holiday.
The other 2335 were business travelers while 1129 were on transit to other countries through Jomo Kenyatta International Airport and the Moi International Aiport in Mombasa.
In March Kenya suspended all international and domestic flights to curb the spread of Covid-19, a move that made the tourism sector lose Sh80 billion in the first half of the year, putting a platform for one of the worst performance for the sector.
Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala said the ministry will release the data on travel and tourism arrival monthly as the sector slowly reopens.
“The data released is invaluable to the country as it helps us to keep track of international tourist numbers to determine whether tourism and travel are improving since the easing of travel restrictions and the resumption of international flights into the country,” said Balala.
Arrivals through Jomo Kenyatta International Airport were 13,249 or 94.3 percent followed by Moi International Airport that had 645 arrives. Wilson Airport recorded 154 while Wajir Aiport had only one tourist.
The US maintained its status as Kenya’s biggest market amid the coronavirus pandemic, recording 2,768 tourists followed by the United Kingdom at 2,469. Uganda was third with 506 visitors.
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Kenya’s tourism sector has traditionally enjoyed a peak between July and August as thousands of tourists flock in to see wildebeest migration from Serengeti National Park in Tanzania to the Maasai Mara.
The Covid-19 restrictions have however seen the travelers to shy away at a time when the country is expecting one the worst years in the tourism sector.
In 2019 Kenya earners Sh163.6 billion from the sector, a 3.9 percent rise from Sh157.4 billion in 2018.