Kenya’s Tourism Sector Growth a Boost to the Economy  22nd Nov 2018

Kenya’s tourism industry contributed a total of 294.6 billion shillings (USD 2.9 billion) to the country’s economy in 2017, representing approximately 3.7 percent of the total GDP, which by the end of 2018 is expected to rise by 5.2 percent to reach 310.1 billion shillings.

Kenya is set to become one of the top five fastest-growing economies in Sub-Saharan Africa, with a projected rebound in GDP growth to 6 percent in 2018 and 7 percent by 2019 according to a Jumia Hospitality Report.

Although the country’s economic performance declined to 4.9 percent in 2017 from 5.8 percent in 2016, several factors will continue to drive the economy and almost certainly help reach the estimated growth rate.

These drivers include enhanced security in Kenya, a steady macroeconomic environment, and most importantly, improved infrastructural developments.

In keeping with UNWTO’s priority of promoting sustainable tourism, it is no doubt that proper tourism infrastructure is a key metric in measuring the environmental, social, and economic impacts at destinations.

It can either be a stimulant of tourism destinations’ growth if prudently developed and maintained or a deterrent if neglected. Appropriate infrastructure including high-quality accommodation, unbeatable tour packages and attractions; and primarily, transport infrastructures such as roads, rails, air, and seaports, all serve to facilitate seamless travel for tourists both the Kenyan domestic and international traveller.

Over the years, Kenya has made great milestones in developing sustainable infrastructure including the Standard Gauge Railway, whose ongoing network expansion beams a light on tourism destinations. This will be made possible by the easy and fast accessibility and connection of one destination to another. Synergies between the government, especially local governments, and the private stakeholders in refining the country road networks, will go a long way in growing not only the popular but also the less explored destinations.

There are also the rudimentary infrastructures that we must no longer turn a blind eye to. So, the transport networks are all developed to get the tourists to their preferred destinations. But how do the visitors find their vacation homes for the period of their stay? Are the amenities in good shape? Is there uninterrupted supply of power and clean water? Is drainage in the properties well maintained and hygiene observed by the service providers? Is there trained first aid personnel in case of emergencies? Are health facilities available in the locality with quick accessibility when illness strikes?

These are just some of the questions that must be addressed when developing tourism infrastructure meant to drive the growth of destinations. If well-handled and by the right people at the helm, then no doubt that even investors will be willing to put their money in destinations possessing greater potential.

The traveling patterns and dynamics in Kenya are progressively being redesigned. Domestic tourism is growing at a high rate with an international expenditure of 38 percent and a local expenditure of 62 percent; especially among the younger Kenyan generation. Proper infrastructure is therefore certainly a top priority if Kenya is to continue resonating with tourists as the most preferred travel destination.


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