Kenya’s tourism industry recovers as Q3 tourist arrivals spike

Kenya’s international tourist arrivals through its two major airports in Nairobi and Mombasa surged 489 percent in the 3rd quarter compared to the same period of 2020, with the sector showing recovery amid increased local and global COVID-19 vaccinations, according to data released on Monday.

The East African nation received 217,873 tourists through Jomo Kenyatta airport in Nairobi and Moi airport in Mombasa between July and September, up from 36,978 in the same period in 2020, the data from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) has indicated.

Najib Balala, the cabinet secretary of the Ministry of Tourism, said in a recent interview that the government is encouraged by the rising tourist arrivals amid the challenges brought about by the pandemic. Most of the tourists arrived in Kenya through the airport in Nairobi as Kenya ramped up its COVID-19 vaccinations and lifted various restrictions.

It would be recalled that on October 20, Kenya lifted a dusk-to-dawn curfew and allowed free operation of hotels and other entertainment spots, giving a boost to the tourism sector.

In the period covering January to September this year, Kenya has received 452,919 tourists through the two airports, up from 327,526 in 2020, according to KNBS. Most of the tourists came in the third quarter. The Ministry of Tourism noted that besides the two airports, some tourists also came by sea and chartered flights, but the numbers were minimal.

The ministry of health says the government aims to vaccinate at least 10 million adults by the end of the year adding that with the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions and having administered 6.4 million vaccines as at November 20, the country’s prospects have brightened in the tourism sector ahead of the festive season.

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