Kenya has in 2016 recorded the largest growth in tourist bookings globally, says American-based luxury travel network Virtuoso.
The agency boasts 390 members and more than 11,400 elite travel advisors in 40 countries across North America, Latin America, the Caribbean, Europe, Asia-Pacific, Africa and the Middle East.
Virtuoso said Kenya scored 59 per cent, followed by Iceland (56), Saint Martin (39), China (35), Ecuador (34), Japan (32), South Africa (28), Tanzania (27), Croatia (25) and Jamaica 23 per cent to close the top 10 list.
The firm, which has affiliations with 1,700 hotels and resorts, cruise lines, airlines, tour companies and premier destinations, said Africa enjoyed a steady rise in tourist arrivals during summer, with a commanding 28 per cent.
In Nairobi, the Kenya Tourism Federation (KTF) signed a partnership with British Airways that will see clients of the federation enjoy a 13-17 per cent discounted air fare for every online purchase of a ticket between now and end of May 2017.
MARKET KENYA ABROAD
Acting KTF chief executive Susan Ongalo described the initiative as timely, saying KTF members would now market Kenya abroad and inform their clients of the subsidised rates.
She said tourists would enjoy lower charges as many hotels, tour operators and travel agents had initiated a cost-reduction incentive for repeat clients.
Virtuoso’s findings were announced during the annual Virtuoso Travel Week in Las Vegas last week on Tuesday evening, attended by travel agency members from the United States and Canada.
Virtuoso commands nearly half of the Sh3.55 trillion tourism revenues.
It said Kenya was among the “hottest” upscale holiday destinations in 2016, owing to its exclusive amenities, rare experiences and privileged access.
Virtuoso added that Kenya, Tanzania and South Africa rank high as investment destinations and stand to experience a 17 per cent rise in tourist arrivals.
“Luxury travellers are seeking out more exotic locales worldwide, including a boom for Africa,” it said.