Kenya has now for the fourth time been voted as the world’s leading safari destination in the 24th World Travel Awards 2017.
President Uhuru Kenyatta says the win is a well-deserved accolade that speaks to all the country has to offer.
“It is a moment of national pride for all Kenyans,” Kenyatta said.
Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) chairman Jimi Kariuki said the global award was a great honor to Kenya’s safari offering, adding that the award was well deserved since the country has the best safari hotspots such the world famous Maasai Mara National Reserve, Amboseli National Park, Lake Nakuru National Park as well as the Tsavo East and West National Parks.
“The annual wildebeest migration spectacle in the Mara, abundant wildlife in our parks, which include the Big Five, makes Kenya stand above the rest in the safari world,” Mr Kariuki said.
The other African countries that had been nominated alongside Kenya in the world’s top safari destination category are; Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
Kenya first scooped the prestigious global award as the world’s top Safari destination in 2013, then subsequently in 2015 and 2016.
The prestigious awards is expected to spike the number of tourists who will arrive in Kenya as the world travel awards are highly rated and regarded as the “Oscars of the tourism sector”.
“KTB would capitalise on the global award to aggressively market the country in both traditional and emerging markets for Kenya to attract many wildlife enthusiasts,” Kariuki said.
Africa Leading Beach Destination
Kenya also scooped Africa’s leading beach destination award (Diani Beach), Africa’s leading national park award and Africa’s leading tourist board award from the World Travel Awards.
TOURISM SECTOR UP 7.7% DESPITE ELECTION STANDOFF
Surprisingly, the tourism sector has recorded a growth of 7.7 % despite heightened political temperatures in the country occasioned by the August general elections.
In the second quarter of 2017, statistics from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics indicate that hotel and food service activities recorded a growth of 13.4 per cent compared to 15.8 per cent growth in the corresponding quarter of 2016.
Visitor arrivals through the two main airports of Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi and Moi International Airport in Mombasa increased by 14.4 per cent from 186,685 in the second quarter of 2016 to 213,543 during the quarter under review.
“This has largely been attributable to sustained improvement in security in the country and enhanced marketing efforts by the Ministry of Tourism and other actors in the tourism sector,” KNBS statistics indicate.
COAST HOTELS FULLY BOOKED
Most of the hotels in the coast are fully booked ahead of Christmas festivities.
“Bookings are way better than last year” Raj Varad, GM Sarova White Sands.
The stability and security that has come with the end of the electioneering period is largely attributed to this growth.
Hoteliers at Watamu and Malindi are also celebrating the return of Italians to the Kenyan coast, after fears that they were diverting to Zanzibar.
KTF Chairman Mohamed Hersi said that Kenya now has two weekly chartered flights from Italy into Mombasa.
“We have two weekly chartered flights from Italy into Mombasa now and this is very encouraging,” said the federation chairman.