Kenya earned Sh38.7 billion from tourism in the last six months, an increase of 6.4% as compared to Sh36.4 billion in the same period last year. Tourism minister Danson Mwazo who released the half year tourism performance in Mombasa this week attributed the minimum growth to reduction of arrivals and controlled spending by travelers.

The tourism minister said Europe remained the main source market for the Kenyan tourism industry with a share of 44%. Africa came second with 25%, America 14 per cent and Asia 11% with holiday being the main purpose of visits as compared to business.

Despite the United States remaining the most consistent market in share terms, The United Kingdom has maintained the top position in share arrivals both by air and sea.US came second followed by Italy, India then Germany marking the top five markets for Kenya. South Africa topped as the regional market with 19,236 visitors followed by Uganda and Tanzania. However Uganda posed a declined compared to last year.

In Asia, India recorded the highest visitors into the country contributing 29,202 arrivals, followed by China, then the Middle East. Mwazo said South Africa and India are the only countries that have shown positive trends. Brazil, Russia and China have declined.

“Travel advisories by the key source markets such as UK, France and USA contributed to a slight decline on the number of arrivals. Insecurity in the coast of Somali led to a decrease in the number of cruise ships and cancelation of chatter flights also had a negative impact,” said Mwazo.

He said presidential elections in some countries such as France and delayed holiday bookings due to the uncertainty which surrounded Kenya’s general elections also affected the number of tourists who visited the country in the first half year.

He however said the market is expected to improve for the remaining months of the year following the review of USA travel advisory, new flights such as the Korea Air, Etihad airways, Royal Jordanian and the introduction of new routes by Kenya Airways.

The minister also noted that Hotels in Nairobi are doing better than Mombasa in terms of facilities and innovation. He urged hotel managements at the coast to renovate their facilities and adopt unique styles to attract different clients. “Prospects remain positive and we expect a tremendous growth in our industry. Hotels need to rediscover themselves and adopt uniqueness. We all need to work on our facilities and capitalize on the market,” said Mwazo.

He said the government will ensure the country remains a safe holiday destination and has increased the Kenya Tourism Board kitty for expansive marketing of the country’s tourism industry internationally.