Kenya’s tourism industry is betting on the country’s security condition as it ponders on its future – less than a week after the announcement of presidential results.
The industry is now under review with the close of general elections last Thursday that saw President Uhuru Kenyatta re-elected for a second term in office, but majority of its stakeholders expect the industry’s flagship products, Safari and beaches to pick up sooner rather than later, as high season kicks in.
The sector’s main stakeholders, Kenya Tourism Board (KTB), Pubs, Entertainment & Restaurants Association of Kenya (PERAK), Kenya Association of Travel Agents (KATA), Kenya Association of Tour Operators (KATO), Kenya Association of Air Operators (KAAO), Eco Tourism and Kenya Coast tourism Association as well as the Ministry of tourism stepped up calls for reconciliation between Kenyatta and Opposition leader Raila Odinga in reuniting the nation as a way of quelling uncertainties of economic instability that is feared could result from business boycott.
The industry is projected to grow at 20 per cent this year, up from 17 per cent witnessed in 2016 buoyed by peak season which ordinarily falls in mid-June through October and mid-December as it also covers wildebeest migration that reaches Masai Mara and remains until October when they move back to the Serengeti in Tanzania, with bookings at the Masai Mara presently at 90 per cent, according to Kenya Association of Hotelkeepers and Caterers Chief executive, Mike Macharia.
Already the industry has shown positive signs since the start of the year with 300,000 tourists visiting the country between January and April, translating to 10.5 per cent growth, up from 240,000 seen last year.
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