NAIROBI, Sept. 9 (Xinhua) -- Kenya's tourist arrivals surged 91 percent between January and August compared to a similar period last year, a senior government official said Friday.
Najib Balala, the cabinet secretary of the Ministry of Tourism and Wildlife, told journalists in Nairobi, the capital of Kenya, that the country received 924,812 international visitors in the first eight months compared to 483,240 arrivals in the same period in 2021.
"Kenya's tourism sector is experiencing a recovery as the COVID-19 pandemic has been contained in most of our key source markets and international travelers are now fully confident to travel," Balala said.
Kenya's tourism sector is one of the leading sources of foreign exchange earnings alongside tea, horticulture, and diaspora remittances.
Balala revealed that Kenya rolled out innovative products and marketing efforts to ensure that its offerings remained competitive among both domestic and international visitors. He said that the East African nation also hosted several international sporting events that played a major role in rebuilding the confidence of visitors to Kenya.
Data from the ministry showed that inbound tourism earnings between January and August grew to 167 billion shillings (about 1.39 billion U.S. dollars) compared to 691 million dollars during the same period in 2021.
Out of the 924,812 international arrivals, 313,466 were on holiday, 274,722 traveled to visit families or friends, 258,889 for business and meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE), and 43,883 on transit, with the rest coming in for other purposes including education, religion, and sports.
Balala observed that the top sources of the country's foreign visitors were the United States, Uganda, Britain, Tanzania, and India.
Balala also launched multi-lingual destination videos on Kenya's cultures, cuisine, vibrant cities, adventure, and other experiences that highlight the destination's diversity. He noted that the videos target potential tourists from China, France, Spain, Italy, Germany as well as Arabic-speaking countries. ■