Kenya’s Tourism Secretary: More visitors and fewer dead elephants
Last year, Kenyan Cabinet Secretary of Tourism Najib Balala met his goal of welcoming over two million visitors to Kenya during his term in office and was sure to report this at ITB. Most visitors still come from the USA, followed by the English and Indian markets. Germany comes in fifth with 68,000 visitors.
Balala has already set a new goal: that five million travelers visit the East African country by 2030. To accommodate this, Kenya continues to invest heavily in tourism, which makes up 14 percent of its gross domestic product. “One in 11 tourists creates a job,” said Balala.
Although most visitors are still attracted to Kenya’s beaches or national parks for safaris, other regions are to be made more accessible to tourists. “Kenya has so many regions that have not yet been developed – think about the North, which is now significantly safer, or the area around Mount Kenya,” explained Balala.
Yet an additional increase in visitors cannot come at the expense of nature, emphasized Balala, whose ministry became responsible for the Kenya Wildlife Service national park administration a few years ago. After encountering significant problems with poachers between 2012 and 2015, countermeasures such as an anti-poaching unit then put in place are now proving effective. 40 elephants fell victim to poachers in 2018 – nothing compared to the 400 animals that gave their lives for their tusks six years earlier.