Nairobi has been ranked the 93rd most welcoming city in the world.
In a survey conducted by holiday website Travelbird, the rankings were determined by scoring the world’s 500 largest cities for tourism on a range of factors, from how welcoming the port of entry is to the happiness of residents, from safety and security to the city’s openness to host tourists.
The survey showed Nairobi managed to beat seven other cities – in the world ahead of major cities such as Budapest (Hungary), Cairo (Egypt) and Bucharest (Romania).
Singapore was ranked as the most welcoming city in the world followed by Stockholm, Helsinki, San Francisco and Rotterdam.
Travelbird combined this with data garnered from polling more than 15,000 travel journalists on their experiences, before weighting all of these factors against a formula that measures over tourism in each destination to compile a list of the top 100 most welcoming cities.
The ranking factored in a number of metrics, which included;
(a) having a friendly port of entry,
(b) citizens’ happiness,
(c) level of national security, and
(d) openness to hosting visitors.
This favourable ranking enhances tourist trust in the country, hence increasing the competitiveness of the country’s hospitality sector on the global platform.
In line with the above, we have seen continued investments in the sector and recently the global hospitality firm, Marriott International, opened 172-room Four Points by Sheraton Nairobi Airport hotel at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA).
This will be the second brand to establish a hotel at JKIA after the 144-room Lazizi Premiere Hotel, which opened its doors in May 2017.
Both hotels bank on the growing number of international arrivals as well as the increasing expenditure by tourists and business travelers.
The number of international arrivals through Jomo Kenyatta International Airport grew at an annual rate of 16.2% to hit 781,513 in 2016 from 672,789 recorded in 2015.
Moreover, the country’s hotel bed-nights occupancy increased by 8.5% y/y to 781,513 in 2016 from 672,789 recorded in 2015. Receipts accruing from tourism earnings also increased by 17.9% y/y from Kshs 5.9 million in 2015 to Kshs 6.4 million recorded in 2016 as per Kenya National Bureau of Statistics Economic Survey 2017.
The Kenyan market has witnessed the entry of more international hotel brands over the year as they seek to tap into the growing tourist numbers driven by:
Lifting of travel advisories to Kenya by the United States, United Kingdom, and France due to improved security in the country,
Government incentives to boost the tourism industry through measures such as removal of visa fees for children, elimination of VAT on park fees, introduction of Airline Charter Incentive Program that waivers landing fees for a period of two and a half years and provide subsidy set at USD. 30 rebates per seat filled by international passengers who terminate or disembark in Kenya over the same period,
Marketing of the country’s hospitality industry at local and international levels, for instance, this week Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) is leading a 30-member delegation of local travel trade firms in marketing the hospitality sector in the country at the 3-day World Travel Market (MTM) in London, United Kingdom,
Meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE), which is valued at Kshs 30.0 bn of annual revenue, with hotels conferences accounting for 60.0% of this total value as per Kenya Hospitality Report, 2017 by Jumia Travel.
Additional Source: Cytonn