The Kenyan Tourism Market

A favorite East African safari destination, Kenya boasts of a robust and growing tourism sector, ranked the second largest source of foreign exchange revenue after agriculture. Kenya’s tourism is a package of adventure, exploration, creation of new experiences and learning about people and places.

Kenya is among the few African countries with a diverse tourism sector that now attracts more than one million tourists every year (and counting). In fact, with increased investment in eco-tourism and aggressive marketing of Kenya as a tourism destination, tourism in the country is earmarked to generate revenues that will steer the country to attaining its Vision 2030.

Types of Tourism in Kenya

Of course depending on what you want to see and experience, the Kenyan geography has it all and the Kenyan weather is ideal for seeing it all: wild habitats such as open savannah, dense forests and alpine meadows, coral reefs, tropical white sandy beaches, fresh water lakes and caves not to mention wildlife that includes nearly every variety of birds, reptiles and mammals.

Marine tourism

Marine tourism thrives in Kenya, which consists of different types of fish, turtles, coral reefs, coral islands and mangrove swamps. There are four main marine parks:

  • Malindi Marine Park
  • Kiunga Marine Park
  • Mombasa Marine Park
  • Kisite Mpunguti Marine Park

Wildlife, National Parks & Reserves

Hosting the great wildebeest migration across the Mara River, considered a World Wonder.

Kenya is home to the Big Five:

  • Lion
  • Buffalo
  • Rhino (the endangered Black Rhino is found in Kenya’s Aberdare National Park)
  • Elephant
  • Leopard

There are 48 national parks and reserves that most notably include:

  • Aberdare National Park
  • Amboseli National Park
  • Buffalo Spring National Reserve
  • Tsavo National Parks

Cultural tourism

The diverse culture in Kenya is perhaps the key that enhances the experiences of tourists visiting the country. Known for a warm spirit and hospitality, Kenyans have unique and interesting traditional cultures embedded in their 42 tribes. Diversity in Kenyan culture contributes to diversity in music and dances, arts and customs and food among other elements of diversity.

Sports tourism

Kenyans are internationally known as champions in sports, from short and long races such as marathons, to high-energy sports such as rugby. It is common for Kenyans to clinch gold, silver and bronze medals at a go. Catch different sporting events such as:

  • Lewa Safari Marathon
  • Safari Sevens Rugby Tournament
  • Camel Derby
  • Horse racing
  • Kenya Open Golf Tournament
  • Kenya Safari Rally, etc.

Domestic Tourism

Tourism packages are designed to accommodate domestic tourists. Most domestic tourists are offered discounted services.

Tourism Statistics

In 2010, Kenya registered 1,095,945 tourists excluding cross-border tourists, who accounted for more than half a million.

Most tourist arrivals are from:

  • United Kingdom: 16%
  • United States: 10%
  • Italy: 7.8%
  • Germany: 5.3%
  • France: 4.8%

Asia, India, China and United Arab Emirates are also prominent international tourists, while cross-border tourists are primarily from Uganda, South Africa and Tanzania.

Cruise tourism has been on the decline owing to piracy in the Indian Ocean and regular travel advisories by Western nations, which has been a thorn on the flesh of Kenya’s tourism industry.

Tourist Seasons

Kenya has two annual low and high-tourist seasons.

High seasons are often during dry weather months:

  • July- September
  • December- February

Low seasons occurre in cold weather months:

  • March-June
  • October-December

The seasons are determined less by weather patterns and more by travel patterns of tourists. Be it as it may, the cold low seasons register tolerable daytime temperatures often above 160C.

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