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Tourism - Kenya

Sample Analysis 2010


Tourism rebounds from recession

Kenya’s tourism is on a steep rise from the ashes of the 2008 post-election violence and the 2009 global recession. This upward trend was evident from the close of the 2009 tourism season when coastal hotels recorded huge gains with the influx of domestic tourists flocking the facilities in that year. In 2010, the same trend was evident; hotels on the coast were packed, with no bed space to spare during all the peak seasons with both local and foreign travellers recording nearly equal numbers in the country hotels.

New constitution and new tourism drive growth

With the promulgation of the new constitution on 27 August 2010, the country’s tourism has received a new impetus as internal competition amongst the newly created 47 counties takes a new course. The counties are endowed with various resources, key amongst them tourism products such as game, culture, natural sites and sports. The exploitation of these resources to complement other revenue generators in the counties will certainly drive growth in the coming years.

The importance of eco-tourism

Whilst wildlife has always served as one of Kenya’s major tourist attractions with the resultant revenue being a major contributor to the GDP, the benefits that foreign visitors add through eco-tourism means more than just preserving wildlife for the country; it also means protecting other resources for the future benefit of Kenya.

Kenya’s dedication to environmental values sets it apart from many other African destinations. This has again been proved by the “Eco-Ratings” scheme – a project by the Eco-Tourism society of Kenya (ESOK). The pioneering scheme means that various Kenyan hotels, wildlife lodges and camps have been able to apply for a special rating which enhances their level of eco-friendliness, thus attracting more tourists inclined to preserve nature through tourism. There are a growing number of community tourism projects in Kenya, ranging from Il Ngwesi and Tassia in the Laikipia area, Sarara in Namunyak, Shompole in the Magadi region and Losikitok in Amboseli.

Cultural heritage tourism, a new resource for Kenya

The successful 10th anniversary of the Lamu Cultural Festival closed on Sunday, 28 November 2010. The festival, which was themed to popularise and preserve Lamu traditions and cultures, saw hosts of local and international tourists descend into Lamu, bringing occupancy in the town to 100% and even turning the whole town into one large carnival. As a manifestation of the growing importance of the annual event, the dignitaries who graced the occasion included the US ambassador to Kenya, representatives of the Kenya Tourist Board, Ministry of Tourism officials and other government bigwigs. Consequent to the successful Lamu event, various groups in Kenya have been gearing to sponsor their own cultural festivities such recent ones on the coast bringing together the Giriama community, and others in Western Kenya by the Abaluhyia and Gusii respectively, attracting large numbers of local tourists.

MICE tourism gains ground

During 2010, conference tourism continued to attract large numbers of local delegates apace with the continued growth of business services in the various regions of the country. In Nakuru town, the one of towns with the fastest growth in East Africa, it was reported that every other weekend there was a full house in the town’s accommodation facilities. The number of conferences in the town rivalled both Nairobi and Mombasa in terms of number of visitors. The majority of the conferences attendees were government and business delegates. This trend exposed a weakness in the industry in terms the severe shortage of accommodation facilities in most parts of Kenya. (Summary only, for full report contact Excluss)

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