The UK has regained its place as the number one visitor market to Kenya, the east African country’s tourism board has confirmed.
In the first quarter of 2017, growth of more than 11% in terms of UK visitors to the country saw Britain reclaim its long-standing top-slot from America. The US had become Kenya’s number one source of tourism in 2016.
Of around 1.3 million tourists who travel to Kenya every year, about 100,000 are British.
Overall, Kenya has so far seen a 10.4% growth in tourism in the year up to June 2017.
“The UK was the number one market for a long, long time,” said Dr Betty Addero Radier, chief executive of Kenya Tourism Board. “So we’re glad to see the UK back at the top.”
She told Travel Weekly that the opening of a new railway line between Mombasa and Nairobi will help boost tourism in the country as it will link the cities in less than five hours and stop off at three key tourism hubs along the way.
“It will be a nice ride through the national parks and offers an alternative to flying. You don’t see elephants and zebras from an airplane. This development will really drive domestic and international tourism.”
To help boost family holidays to the country, Kenya will also be waiving visa costs for under 16s and working with its national parks to offer preferential rates to the tourist board’s UK tour operator partners. A memorandum of understanding is set to be signed with the Kenya Wildlife Service next week.
Kenya is also pushing for more cruise into the country, and meetings are set for October with countries including Tanzania and South Africa with the view of organising a multi-destination itinerary that could include the Seychelles.
In another major infrastructure project, Kenya is hoping to open up luxury resorts in the south of the country to more operators with a new road, slated for completion later this year.
Radier said: “It’s a completely different experience in the south of the country and by the coast than you get in the national parks. “
Radier also confirmed that the Kenya Tourism Board would continue to run fam trips for agents next year after recent “successful” fams in recent months and further training will be rolled out for agents.
She added: “We had really good feedback from agents and understand they [fam trips] are important to the UK travel trade. It really helps them to understand trends we are seeing and keep them on top of all the new developments.”
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