Travel warnings cut Mombasa visitor arrivals by 44 per cent

Kenya’s coastal resort city of Mombasa experienced the biggest drop in foreign visitor arrivals in the year to September compared to the rest of the country, underlining the impact of travel aisories.

Official data shows that the number of international visitors arriving through Moi International Airport in Mombasa decreased to 53,084 between January and September from 94,750 a similar period last year, representing a 43.9 per cent drop.

Overall foreign visitor arrivals to Kenya fell 16.9 per cent to 555,795 in the review period, a smaller drop compared to arrivals in Mombasa which has borne the brunt of Western travel aisories following past terrorist attacks.

At 555,795, the number of foreign visitors to the country in the year to September pales in comparison to 931,607 in 2011. A majority of foreign visitors to Mombasa port city are holidaymakers looking to enjoy the warm weather in the palm-fringed sandy beaches and resorts.  

“The sector is not out of the woods yet,” said Mohamed Hersi, the chief executive of Heritage Hotels and chair of Kenya Coast Tourist Association. Tourism is a vital forex earner for Kenya, but the drop in arrivals has threatened to cut the inflows of hard currency, resulting to the weakening of the shilling.

READ: Kenya upbeat UK tourist arrivals to peak in two years