Africa: Kenya drops in competitiveness, but shows positive signs


Kenya has dropped two spots to 82nd place in the 2019 Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index (TTCI), published biennially by the World Economic Forum (WEF).

The TTCI assesses 140 economies for travel and tourism (T&T) competitiveness in four sub-indexes: Enabling Environment; T&T Policy and Enabling Conditions; Infrastructure; and Natural and Cultural Resources.
The TTCI shows Kenya as lagging in tourist service infrastructure and ICT readiness, resulting in its decline in the overall Enabling Environment ranking.

Where Kenya has gained ground is in the Safety and Security segment (10 points), showing an improvement in common crime and violence, in terrorism and in the extent to which police services can be relied upon to provide protection from crime. The removal by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office of travel advisories on key tourism areas within Kenya also shows Kenya’s improvement in safety matters.

However, tourism numbers declined during the first half of 2019 compared with the same period in 2018.

Despite a 0.7% drop in tourists during the first half of the year, Kenya is expecting to grow its overall tourist numbers by 10% compared with last year, and reach 2.2 million by the end of 2019, according to the Cabinet Secretary for Tourism in Kenya, Najib Balala.

When it comes to prioritising tourism and travel, Kenya has done well; the country ranked 21st globally in this year’s TTCI.

“By making clear that the sector is of primary concern, the government can channel funds to essential development projects and co-ordinate the actors and resources necessary to develop the sector. Signalling the stability of government policy can affect the sector’s ability to attract further private investment,” reads the TTCI report.

According to a report by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) titled Hotels outlook: 2018-2022, Kenya is projected to have one of the next fastest-growing hotel industries in Africa.

“We project a pick-up in tourist arrivals beginning in 2020. For the forecast period as a whole, we project arrivals to increase at a 1.3% compound annual rate to 2.16 million in 2023, from 2.025 million in 2018,” reads the report.

Despite Kenya’s decline in overall ranking in the TTCI report, the country’s hotel market benefited from an increasing number of foreign tourists as travel advisories were lifted and the country enjoyed a sustained period of peace and security.


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