Youth twice as likely as older adults to travel for leisure - Daily Nation

Youth twice as likely as older adults to travel for leisure


Youth twice as likely as older adults to travel for leisure

Kenyan visitors to national parks and game reserves increased by a fifth in three years

Youth aged between 18 and 35 years are more likely to travel for leisure than any other age group, reveals a NationNewsplex review of domestic tourism data.

Nearly seven per cent of young adults aged 18-35 travelled for leisure – holiday, visit to a cultural event or exhibition – in the three months preceding the Kenya Integrated Household Budget Survey (KIHBS) 2015-2016. This was almost double the proportion of individuals aged 36-65, who made a leisure trip over the same period. Children aged 0-17 came second at six per cent while those over 65 had the lowest proportion with less than two per cent.

Overall, just about six per cent of Kenyans travelled for leisure and took an average of six days on their trips in the three months leading to the survey.

On average, the youth spend about six days on a leisure trip while people aged 36-65 spend about five days. Children spend about eight days on vacation, the longest, while the old travellers take less than two days.

Mr Aloyo Eshiwani, the founder of travel agency FunTravel Kenya, says many of his young clients prefer to take weekend group trips.

Overall, just about six per cent of Kenyans travelled for leisure and took an average of six days on their trips in the three months leading to the survey.

Generally, one in seven Kenyans travelled out of their usual environment for various reasons over the three months preceding the survey, according to figures from the latest KIHBS report. Two in five domestic tourists (43 per cent) are aged between 18-35 years, the largest share.

Domestic tourism involves travelling to and staying at least over a night in places outside the travellers’ usual environment within the country in a period of not more than 12 months for leisure, business (excluding travel for employment) or other purposes.

“The young traveller is a very interesting one, they are more spontaneous in their planning, and they are very adventurous,” says Ms Judy Kepher-Gona, a lead consultant at Sustainable Travel and Tourism Agenda.

Almost a third (29 per cent) of those who travelled within Kenya were aged between 36 and 65 years, followed by children (a quarter) and those above 65 years (four per cent).

Friends and family

Two-thirds of Kenyans who travel mainly visit friends and relatives followed by engaging in study and professional activities (11 per cent) and attending social gatherings (10 per cent).Other reasons for travelling include visiting second residence (five per cent), religious (four per cent), medical treatment (two per cent), sports (0.5 per cent), honeymoon (0.2 per cent) and other reasons (four per cent).

On average, the highest number of days were taken for medical treatment (10 days), followed by visit to second residence (nine days), professional (seven days), leisure and visiting friends and relatives (five days).

Four in five of those who travelled took only one trip, a trend that was evident across all age groups.

The highest proportion of people who travelled more than six times were aged 65 and above (four per cent), followed by 36-64 (2.2 per cent), 18-35 (two per cent) and children (0.7 per cent).

Trip spending

A majority of those who took a trip (two-thirds) reported that they sponsored themselves.

A fifth of children aged between 0-17 years catered for their own expenses while the rest were sponsored. More than three-quarters of adults aged 18-35 years were self-sponsored while over 85 per cent of people in the last two age groups paid for their trip and other expenses.

Travelling is an expensive affair, with two in five shillings spent on domestic tourism being used on transport. The second largest expenditure was shopping for personal use (13 per cent), presents (12 per cent), and food and drinks (10 per cent).

“It is un-African to visit a relative without shopping or a gift, thus we spend a huge sum of money on them,” says IT specialist Victor Wafula, who lives with his parents in Nairobi and travels with them to Nyeri every Christmas and Easter holidays to visit his grandparents.

“My family journeys to visit our grandparents and relatives who reside in Nakuru and Nyeri. All the bills are paid by our father,” he says.

The youth spend the largest share of their trip money on shopping for personal use (15 per cent), followed by gifts (13 per cent), and food and drinks (11 per cent).

The largest expense for all groups is transport. The second largest expense for children is food and drinks (16 per cent), whereas for the middle-aged, it is shopping for personal use.

The old people spend the largest share of their money on medical expenses (17 per cent).

Some Kenyans have come up with creative ways to cut down on holiday expenses.

Mr Amos Ng’ang’a, 24, organises trips with his friends yearly. “It is expensive to plan for a trip to, let’s say Coast, as an individual. So my friends and I usually save for a couple of months, then put the contributions together, which cater for transport and accommodation,” says the software developer who works for an international organisation.

He also tours different parts of the country while on professional trips.

“My profession entails a lot of fieldwork, which takes me to different parts of the country frequently. I love adventure and thus I take time to see new places, interact with new people, and also experience the beautiful sceneries of our great country outside my working hours,” he says.

The KIHBS data shows that more urban residents travelled compared to their rural counterparts.

An urbanite is three times more likely to go for a trip than one in the countryside. An urbanite was also twice as likely to travel for holiday as a resident in rural areas.

Most of the travellers in absolute numbers resided in Nairobi. Kisumu and Nairobi counties had the highest proportion of people who took a trip within Kenya (a third each). Nyeri and Makueni counties came in third place, each with a fifth of their population travelling to a new destination.

Wajir County had the least share of people who took a trip in the three months preceding the survey, at one per cent. It was followed by Marsabit (1.6 per cent), West Pokot (2.1 per cent), Samburu (2.3 per cent) and Nandi (2.4 per cent).

The reasons for not taking trips include inability to afford to travel (a third), school, and lack of time (a quarter).

Last year, a majority (51 per cent) of hotel bed-nights occupants were by Kenyans. This translated to 3.6 million bed occupancies, according to figures from the Economic Survey 2018.

Park visits

Visits to national parks and game reserves are popular among domestic tourists. The number of Kenyans who visited these destinations increased by almost a quarter from 1.3 million in 2015 to 1.6 million last year. Kenyans accounted for two-thirds of the 2.3 million visitors in 2017.

The Nairobi Mini Orphanage Park remained the most visited park in the fifth consecutive year, attracting 367,700 local and international visitors. This accounted for 16 per cent of all the visits to national parks and game reserves recorded by the Kenya Wildlife Services in 2017.

It was followed by Lake Nakuru National Park (216,000), Hell’s Gate (206,500) and Kisumu Impala Sanctuary (200,200). Samburu National Reserve was the least visited in the past five years, attracting 11,100 visitors in 2017, followed by Meru National Park (16,700) and Mt.Kenya National Park (20,200

Earnings from the tourism sector increased by a fifth from Sh100 billion in 2016 to Sh120 billion in 2017. This was largely attributed to the rise in international visitor arrivals, which grew by eight per cent from 1,339,700 in 2016 to 1,448,800 in 2017. However, it was five per cent lower than in 2013 when 1.5 million international visitors came to Kenya.

Two-thirds (991,700) of international visitors came for holiday. Europe is the largest source of international tourists, attracting 42 per cent of the tourists (517, 300) who visited last year. Of these, a third — 168,000 —were from the United Kingdom, the largest source market by country.

The World Travel and Tourism Council estimates the total contribution of travel and tourism to Kenya’s GDP to be 10 per cent at Sh769 billion in 2017, whereas its direct contribution was four per cent at Sh295 billion.