Arrival by air records 15.7% growth

Tourist arrivals MIAM 2
  1. Overview of January Inbound Air Arrivals

Total international arrivals for January 2019by air closed at 88,705 compared to 76,649 in 2018, illustrating an increase of 15.7%. During the period under review, JKIA arrivals grew by 9.4% to record 61,137 compared to 66,859 in 2018.Moi International Airport Mombasa (MIAM), received 21,846 visitors, compared to 15,512 in 2018, a 40.8% growth.

Holiday is the major reason of travel into Kenya in January, taking a share of 69.15% of the total arrivals in the period. In absolute numbers, holiday arrivals increased by 0.5% to record 61,342 in 2019 as compared to 61,059 in 2018. Business and conference contributed 13.2% of the arrivals. Business and Conference numbers closed at 11,684 up from 7,374 indicating a growth of 58.4%. VFR contributed 7.6% of the arrivals closing at 6,704 up from 4,907 in 2018. Other Purposes of Entry (Medical, On Transit, Voluntourism, Sports, Study and Not Stated) contributed 10.1% of the total arrival closing at 8,975.

In terms of share of arrivals, USA retains its first position, contributing 12.9% followed closely by Italy with 12.0%.  the UK comes in 3rd with a share of 9.5%, followed by Germany with 7.2%. India is 5th with 5.3% and China close the top 6 list with a contribution of 4.5% to the total arrivals in 2019.

  1. Tourism Source Markets Performance

Top Markets

There is notable mixed performance from the top performing markets. The top markets ranked based on the January 2019 performance are as illustrated below:

Country 2018 2019 % Change YoY % Share (2019)
US  8,172  10,045 22.9 12.9
UK  7,679  7,432 -3.2 9.5
Italy  7,633  9,319 22.1 12.0
India  3,940  4,152 5.4 5.3
Germany  4,939  5,595 13.3 7.2
China  2,354  3,520 49.5 4.5

US market holds the 1st position with 9,926 arrivals illustrating a growth of 21.5% compared to 2018. This can be attributed to increased in-market investment and presence, Government efforts to establish a secure conducive environment for both tourists and investors. China and India have increased by 47.7% and 1.4% respectively as compared to January 2018. Chinese tourist were pegged as the highest spenders globally in 2018 and are projected to still hold this position in 2019. Indians come in at 17th globally and if India’s economic growth and other driving factors continue as they have been and are currently, then this market could experience a similarly dramatic boom well within the next decade.

Regional Markets

Africa contributed 26% of the total tourism arrivals in January 2019. The top five source markets for Kenya from Africa ranked based on performance are indicated in the table below.

Country 2018 2019 % Change YoY % Share (2019)
Uganda  7,177  2,972 -58.6 3.4
Africa  1,980  2,734 38.1 3.1
Ethiopia  1,693  1,896 12.0 2.1
Nigeria  879  1,384 57.5 1.6
Rwanda  845  1,304 54.3 1.5
Tanzania  1,832  1,170 -36.1 1.3
Ghana  350  566 61.7 0.6

Africa’s figures are expected to soar up in the coming year. The government policy on Africans has made it possible for ease of movement through the open boarder policy and the open sky agreement. With ease on restriction the open boarder policy is expected to attract both tourists and investor. The open sky policy is intended to encourage air travel connectivity in the continent and Kenya taking the opportunity of being among the first to ratify the treaty to establish herself and in particular Nairobi as a regional hub early on.