11-01-2020 by Freddie del Curatolo
Yesterday the "Kenya Tourism Sector Performance Report", an annual document on tourism trends in the African country prepared by the Ministry of Tourism, was made public.
Let's say it now, these are positive data that speak of a very slight increase (1.16%) compared to the previous year and above all they announce that it has been consolidated the share over the ceiling of 2 million annual attendance (2,049), which last year was broken through for the first time (2,025).
The data that most affect us Italians are those relating to tourist visas, i.e. entry into Kenya in the year just ended, compared to 2018.
Data not positive, although significant, that speak of ten thousand fewer presences, or a decrease of 16% in a year, something that has no equal in negative for any other people.
From 65,134 admissions in the country in 2018, which was an increase compared to the previous year, and foreshadowed an upward trend that could take us back to 2006-2007 when we almost reached 100,000 presences, becoming the fourth nation for annual presences in Kenya, we have dropped worryingly to 54,607.
In the ranking of total presences, in which again this year the United States leads with 245,437 entries in Kenya and practically all at Nairobi airport, we slide from sixth to seventh place, surpassed for the first time also by the French, after two years ago also the Germans had recovered a better position. The transalpine "cousins" have rediscovered Kenya and the direct Air France flights in collaboration with Kenya Airways certainly help, so much so that with an increase of 9% now for a few hundred tourists are in front of us. Also the British, second in the ranking that excludes neighboring countries (more Ugandan than Tanzanian) but includes India (third) and China (fourth).
South Africa closes the top ten, while the fifth European country for presences in Kenya is the Netherlands.
What is the reason for such an evident decrease of our compatriots in Kenya?
Certainly, in addition to the economic crisis that has been a fact for years, an important role played by the kidnapping of the Milanese volunteer Silvia Romano, in November 2018 in Chakama, in the hinterland of Malindi. As well as a growing discontent of many Italians towards African countries, "guilty" of bringing us immigrants. Kenya is not one of them, or only a very small part of them, but in the increasingly superficial collective imagination of the former Belgrade, Africa is all the same.
The perception of tourism is also changing, especially among young people, and many hotels on the coast, not yet in step with the times, are suffering from this: they prefer destinations where offers abound on online channels such as booking.com and airbnb, and where services and entertainment are greater. If Malindi, for example, has become a destination for elderly or elderly "repeaters", it must be counted that annually between losses and aches and pains, people of a certain age who can return are less and less. And the turnover is less and less.
Although the high season went well, the numbers for 2019 and the comparisons with the previous year must surely make both local and state tourism institutions reflect, but also entrepreneurs themselves. If you still want to focus on tourism at home.
by Freddie del Curatolo
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