The total number of international arrivals through Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) and Moi International Airport (MIA) increased across all quarters of 2018, recording an 18.9 percent growth compared to 2017’s 5.9 percent growth.
Data from the Kenya National Bureau of Standards (KNBS) indicates that the number of visitor arrivals on holiday accounted for 73.9 percent of all international arrivals in 2018 while those on business accounted for 12.7 percent.
The third quarter of 2018 recorded the highest number of international arrivals having recorded a total of 599,700 visitors out of the total 2,027,700 visitors recorded at JKIA, MIA and other border points in Kenya.
The number of departing visitors increased by 13.0 percent to 1,856,800 in 2018 from 1,643,300 in 2017. The growth was mainly attributed to an increase in the number of holiday visitors in 2018.
Figures from the KNBS have revealed that residents of Germany and the United Kingdom jointly accounted for almost half of the departing residents of European countries.
Departures by residents of African countries increased by 16.4 percent to 619,600 in 2018.
Bed occupancy rates across the country by visitors in 2018 hit a peak in the month of August at 44.4 percent compared to an average of 32.5 percent for the whole year.
Overall, the bed occupancy rate rose to 31.4 percent in 2018 from 31.2 percent in 2017. Kenyan residents occupied more than half of the total bed-nights in 2018, showing the significance of domestic tourism.
Hotel bed night occupancy by residents of Europe increased by 29.1 percent to 2,277.7 thousand in 2018.
Hotel bed night occupancy by residents of France recorded the highest growth of over 99 percent from 97,100 in 2017 to 193,300 in 2018.
Hotel Bed-Nights by Zone
Overall, hotels along the coast were the most preferred by tourists having recorded the highest number of occupancy rates in the country, at 38.6 percent of the total occupancies.
The South Coast was a more preferred destination compared to the North Coast in 2018. Bed-nights occupancy at the South Coast rose from 928,100 2017 to 1,766,200 in 2018.
Nairobi hotels followed closely with a 23.5 percent occupancy rate.
The number of hotel bed-nights occupied by US citizens in game lodges increased from 107,800 in 2017 to 133,400 in 2018.
Similarly, the number of bed-nights occupied by Chinese residents in the game lodges increased from 86,700 in 2017 to 97,500 in 2018.
European markets which include Germany, France, and the United Kingdom contributed the high number of visitors preferring coastal beach hotels.
Kenya’s coastal beaches captured the attention of the world with the naming of Diani beach as Africa’s leading beach destination in October 2018 for the 6th time in a row by the World Travel Awards (WTA).