Kenya eyes African market to expand tourism sector

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Kenya is seeking to increase the number of African tourists visiting the country as a way of expanding the tourism sector, officials said Friday.

Cabinet Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism Najib Balala told a tourism forum in Nairobi that the government is working with Kenya Airways to provide incentives for African travellers to visit Kenya.

“We are working on the modalities to provide short term transit visas to African travellers who pass through Jomo Kenyatta International Airport so that they visit Kenya,” Balala said during the official opening of the Tourism Innovation and Change Forum (TICF).

Data from the Kenya Tourism Board indicates that in 2016 approximately 875,000 foreigners visited Kenya via air transport, a vast majority from the U.S. and Europe.
Kenya’s National Tourism Strategic Blueprint 2030 has also recognized Africa as untapped tourist source market for Kenya.

Balala said that Kenya has also implemented a visa on arrival regime for African countries that also gives Kenyan nationals visa on arrivals.

“The aim is to make it easier for Africans to travel within the continent,” he added.
The tourism sector continues to play a key role in the growth of Kenya’s economy. It contributes more than ten percent of the Gross Domestic Product, 18 percent of foreign exchange earnings and 11 percent of total formal employment in the country.

The CS said that the sector also contributed an estimated 11 percent of government revenue in the form of taxes, duties, license fees and park entry fees.

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