Following the release of Kenya’s tourism statistics for 2018 by the Ministry of Tourism and wildlife yesterday (07/01/2019) morning, reactions have started coming in from stakeholders of the sector.
The impressive figures that saw the East African country record a 37.33 % growth in arrivals to hit the 2 million mark has been celebrated by many including the head of state President Uhuru Kenyatta who was presented with the report by the sector’s cabinet secretary Najib Balala during a ceremony in Kenya’s coastal city of Mombasa.
One of the country’s principal actors in this feat is the state agency responsible for marketing and promotion, the kenya tourism Board (KTB). The board’s chairperson and also Managing Director of Sarova Hotels Group Jimi Kariuki in a statement released to the media said , the performance of 2018 was the best in the last decade. He commended the Government of Kenya for the continued support to the sector in the areas of infrastructure and also creating the enabling and conducive environment for the sector to do business.
Mr Kariuki singled out the kenya tourism board for their aggressive marketing of Magical Kenya both home and abroad with research, disruptive travel innovations and technology as their core elements in their destination marketing activations. KTB continues to grow its digital marketing excellence through various campaigns focusing on the sharing economy, user generated content as well as joint promotions supporting online booking platforms through which our trade promote, he added. He also applauded the private sector operators for the product development and destination marketing promotion.
Reenforcing the Board Chair’s point was the Director of Marketing Ms Jacinta Nzioka who represented the CEO at the event and confirmed that budget allocation towards promoting product experiences as well as sustained digital campaigns gave been the priority in the financial year.
See below the full statement from Jimi Kariuki
The performance of the tourism sector in 2018 was very encouraging. The results released today are testament to this. The visitor arrival numbers surpassed the 2 million mark making 2018 the best performing year for the sector & exceeding the performance of the best past years of 2007 & 2011 both which achieved just over 1.8 million visitor arrivals. 2017 visitor arrivals were just short of 1.5 million. The revenue receipts from the sector in 2018 were in excess of US$1.5 billion vs US$1.19 billion in 2017, a 31% year-on-year growth. All key overseas source markets showed very strong growth. Domestic travel bed-nights also grew by 9% in 2018 over 2017. This is indeed commendable performance by the sector. The Government of Kenya has continued to prioritize the tourism sector through creating an enabling & conducive environment for the sector to do business & to grow. The results from the various incentives rolled out by GoK in 2015 to support recovery of the sector & the increased tourism marketing funding to the Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) are now showing. There have been infrastructure improvements, domestic security is no longer a concern, more airlines are flying into the Country & in particular to Mombasa, & new overseas tour operators have started to seriously sell our destination, notably from the USA, UK, German, Spain, China, India. The tourism private sector also played a big part in supporting achievement of these numbers through driving product development & also carrying out destination marketing promotions in key source markets. Though we are on the right path toward recovery, it has been a tough journey for the sector. But despite this, many tourism players have continued to invest in improving their products & services. The Kenya Tourism Board has continued to aggressively market MagicalKenya at home and abroad. Research, technology & innovation will continue to be at the forefront of our destination marketing activations. Jimi Kariuki, MD Sarova Hotels, & Chairman Kenya Tourism Board