Daniel A. Tanner - Jun 15, 2010

Despite good numbers, Kenya Tourist Board (KTB) is worried about the incoming tourists this year as the pirate attacks on the Somali coast could affect the tourism industry. KTB managing director plans to tackle the possible problem by attracting tourist from new countries.


During the first four months of this year entry flow of tourists to Kenya rose by 16%. This year, the number of tourists arriving in the country through its main ports increased from 289,518 people in the same period last year to 336,179 people.

Nevertheless, the Kenya Tourist Board (KTB) is concerned that the cases of pirate attacks on the Somali coast could affect the tourism industry, which is recovering from the global financial crisis and turbulent two years following the post-election unrest.

The number of tourists arriving in Mombasa on cruise ships, for the period of January-April this year, dramatically decreased by 95% to 508 from 11 000 last year.

The chairman of KTB Jake Grieves-Cook said that as long as the question of piracy is not definitively resolved, the country will suffer from the problem. Because of piracy, many tourists choose alternative routes or cancel their trips altogether.

In general, Mr. Grieves-Cook hopes that this year will be favorable for the sector. The goal for him is to bring a million visitors into the country. "For 2010 we planned to attract over one million foreign tourists, industry revenues should exceed 1 billion USD," said Grieves-Cook, quoted by Mr. Ndegwa, KTB managing director, said that they have increased marketing efforts on attracting tourists both from the traditional and the new countries such as China, Brazil, India, and Russia.

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