Kenya’s services sector, which contributes about 61 percent of GDP, is dominated by tourism. The tourism sector, which is managed by the Ministry of East African Affairs, Commerce and Tourism, has exhibited steady growth in most years since Independence and by the late 1980s had become the country’s principal source of foreign exchange. According to a report by the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), the Kenyan tourism sector’s growth is noted to be growing at a steady rate of 5.9 percent and is anticipated to maintain a growth of 6 percent annually for the coming 10 years. This growth is among the highest among other economic sectors in the country. The effect of this growth is felt by the job market in the industry. The tourism sector employed more than 1.1 million direct, indirect and induced people in the year 2016. This accounts for 9.2 percent of the country’s total employment.
Tourists are attracted by the diversity of Kenya’s people, wildlife and habitats. While the national parks and reserves aim to protect flora and fauna and ecosystems, the private conservancies give or guests distinctive wholesome experiences that Kenya offers culturally, historically and ecologically. Kenya prides itself as a major safari destination, attracting tourists each year to its wildlife, beaches, rich culture, striking geographical diversity, and landscapes, making it an ideal choice for hospitality investment. More than half the tourists come from Europe, led by the United Kingdom, Italy, Germany, and France. Tourist numbers from emerging markets such as India and China are on the rise.
The Government is keen to diversify tourism with a greater emphasis on meetings, incentives, conferencing and exhibitions sports and adventure tourism, and the development of Western and Northern circuits. In addition, it is striving to develop new opportunities in this sector, including seeking investments to create resort cities, brand premium parks, and to develop high value niche products and high-end international hotels. Other investment opportunities include hospitality training and development, medical tourism for the regional market, and activity/cultural tourism.
All this requires new, higher quality tourism infrastructure. There is also the potential to integrate tourism facilities in the EAC region as part of a combined offer, with Kenya at its centre.
The sector also organizes events through the Kenya Tourism Board.
The existence of the Kenya Tourism Development Corporation, a development financial institution, provides affordable and accessible financial facilities and business advisory services to the tourism industry. In order to develop and diversify Kenya’s tourism industry by providing a range of financial services to investors in tourism related enterprises. These are attempts to encourage investments in this sector.
Find more information about Tourism investment opportunities here.
Kenya is a sporting nation and renown for prowess in athletics. There is great potential to invest in athletics through setting up centres for training. Investors can help nurture sporting talent from the grassroots level, while also contributing to the development of sporting facilities such as golf courses, car and horse racing etc.