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Najib Balala names Kenya’s top 30 tourism markets as he exits office

Tourism and Wildlife Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala has issued a breakdown of Kenya’s top markets in the tourism sector, indicating a big improvement compared to last year.

The CS, in his briefing on the Tourism Sector Performance Report for January – August 2022 said that majority of the international tourists were from the US, neighbouring Uganda, and from the United Kingdom.

The top 30 markets are US, Uganda, UK, Tanzania, India, Germany, Rwanda, Somalia, Ethiopia, France, South Sudan, Nigeria, South Africa, Canada, Netherlands, Democratic Republic of Congo, China, Italy, Burundi, Sweden, Un, Poland, Spain, Zimbabwe, and Denmark.

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Mr Balala said from January to August 2022, the country received 924,812 international visitors compared to 369,738 during the same period in 2021. According to the CS, 313,466 tourists visited the country to spend their holiday, 274,722 visiting their families and friends, while 258,889 visitors arrived in Kenya for business. Other visitors who came to the country were on transit, while some came to study, for religion related activities, medical and sports.

During the period, the CS said that inbound tourism earnings grew to Sh167 billion, compared to Sh83 billion that was recorded in the previous year, representing 101 per cent growth.

This was Mr Balala’s last statement as the head of the tourism docket with President Uhuru Kenyatta second and final tenure coming to an end next week when Dr William Ruto is sworn in as the fifth president of Kenya.

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Before being appointed to the tourism docket in June 2015, Balala headed the Mining Ministry, a position that he held from 2013. He also served as Tourism Minister during the administration of the late President Mwai Kibaki.

Notably, Mr Balala did not take sides in the politics of succession ahead of the August 9, General Election. However, he was the first CS in the current administration to congratulate Dr Ruto after he was declared the president-elect by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) chairperson Wafula Chebukati.

All eyes are now on Dr Ruto who is expected to name his cabinet in the days following his inauguration.

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