The figures released by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) confirms that the fear of industry stakeholders was right.
All arrivals at Jomo Kenyatta International plunged by 12% in the first 6 months of 2014 by over 12 percent, from 2013’s 409,130 figure. The last year’s figure itself already reduced from 2012 to 358,977. Mombasa seems to be the worst hit with arrivals down by over 20 percent as a result of the entire charter operations being cancelled after the anti-travel advisories in the wake of security incidents at the coast.
Thee security incidences at the coast saw even Lamu, a UNESCO World Heritage site, coming under a travel ban from Western governments. The situation was worsened when even the brave tourists saw withdrew after 2 tourists were brutally murdered in Mombasa’s Old Town.
There are a lot of resorts at the coast which closed down before or after Easter and failed to reopen until now. There are massive job losses in the industry. Investors have also suffered with some now just waiting for debt collectors to strike. Safari businesses like tour operators have suffered and other supporting businesses like restaurants, curio and art dealers are staring at a very bleak future.
But Kenya Tourism Board retained the World Tourism Award for Best Tourism Board in Africa for the third year running. Kenya was again ranked only second to South Africa in the continent in the ceremony that took place last Friday night.