Kenya Tourism Minister Najib Balala says that as many more international borders reopen and global travel continues to pick up pace, Kenya hopes to receive over 1.46 million foreign tourists before the year 2022 ends. It would be almost double of the tourist traffic that Kenya had recorded last year, the minister added.
Balala was addressing the gathering of participants, exhibitors and buyers during the official opening of the 12th edition of Magical Kenya Travel Expo (MKTE) in the Kenyan capital Nairobi.
“Last year, we recorded 870,000 visitors into the country with revenue receipt of KES 146 billion, and close of this year, we have better projects since things have begun looking up,” said Balala. For the year 2022, Balala hopes that the tourism sector would generate a revenue of KES 265 billion from the foreign visitors.
Though tourism across Kenya, like in every other country around the world, had been brought to a standstill due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the sector is looking at a strong and consistent recovery, building on resilience, powerful destination, growth of domestic tourism and value addition to tourism experience.
The MKTE, which is the largest East and Central African Travel Trade Show, has seen a robust recovery this year, with over 225 exhibitors and 160 buyers from Kenya’s key source markets in Europe, Africa, Asia and the Americas.
Balala noted the expo plays an important development in the sector’s recovery as the presence of exhibitors and hosted buyers affirms that Kenya continues to attract global attention and investment in tourism development. “MKTE 2022 represents the aspirations of the tourism sector in Kenya and Africa, it shows that the sector is ready to kick off and we are ready for business. This is a great platform to sell Kenya to the global tourism market and we are confident that within these three days, we shall see some interesting developments as we look forward to building on the already existing partnerships between our tourism industry and global players,” added Balala.
Incidentally, barely a week after MKTE 2022, Kenya will also host the World Travel Awards Africa & Indian Ocean Gala Ceremony on October 15 in Nairobi.
Balala said that the Ministry has already put in place measures to ensure that tourism experiences are not only safe and enjoyable for visitors but also sustainable and profitable for stakeholders in the industry.
“As a Ministry, we have been focusing on increasing our country’s value proposition by highlighting its unique offering and culture through events such as MKTE. Earlier in the year, we launched our new strategy that will provide a road map for the sector and will shape the future of Kenya’s tourism industry,” said Balala.
Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) Chief Executive Officer Betty Radier said the expo is in line with the board’s efforts to revitalise tourism in Kenya as it focuses on Africa and other emerging markets.
“As we continue to work towards our vision of a thriving tourism industry, we are determined to support this vital sector by providing an environment that will attract visitors and enable them to connect with the best in local hospitality, culture and heritage,” said Radier.