Kenya bets on British tourists to revive industry


Both the newly appointed Kenya Airways manager for Europe and the United States and Kenya Tourism Board managing director say tourist numbers from the UK are set for a significant increase over the next 18 months.

Speaking to the Nation at the World Travel Market in London that ends today, Mr Tom Reeves and Mr Muriithi Ndegwa said forward bookings were good and the level of interest in Kenya as a destination was significantly up, compared to last year.

Mr Ndegwa said he was “cautiously optimistic” that over the next 18 months to two years, British tourist numbers to Kenya would return to their pre-September 2013 levels, which slumped in the wake of the Westgate Mall terrorist attack.

The KTB managing director said he was delighted that the UK Government had now removed Malindi from its advisories detailing dangerous places to visit in the country.

“Where else can you find so much to offer in terms of tourism?” he asked. “We can offer business, eco-tourism, sports tourism and cultural tours alongside the traditional safari and beach holidays,” said Mr Ndegwa.

The board is keen to promote regional tourism through the Northern Corridor Initiative aiming at joint East African tour products to Uganda and Rwanda as well as Kenya, according to Mr Ndegwa.

Pope Francis’ scheduled visit this month, the hosting of the World Trade Organisation ministerial conference in December and President Obama’s visit to Kenya earlier this year have all fuelled interest in Kenya as a tourist destination.