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Kenya: Kenya Emerges as South Africa’s Top Tourism Source in Africa

Kenya has emerged as the focal point of South Africa’s tourism success story, as Statistics South Africa released official international arrival figures for January to November 2023. The East African country has witnessed a staggering 94.2% surge in tourist arrivals in South Africa. This surge in numbers can be attributed to Kenya’s strategic decision to simplify the visa regime earlier in the year, coupled with targeted and effective insights-driven marketing campaigns.

The seamless connectivity established by Kenya Airways between Nairobi and South Africa, particularly Johannesburg and Cape Town, has been very instrumental in fueling the remarkable growth in passenger numbers between these two nations. The enhanced accessibility and convenience afforded by direct flights have incentivized more Kenyan and South African travelers to explore opportunities, fostering increased tourism, business engagements, and cultural exchanges.

Patricia De Lille, the Minister of Tourism, expressed her pleasure at the impressive numbers from the African continent, emphasizing the region’s significance. She attributed Kenya’s remarkable performance to the government’s strategic decisions, simplifying visa regulations and implementing effective marketing strategies. The collaborative efforts of the Department of Tourism, South African Tourism, and the broader tourism sector played a crucial role in achieving these impressive results on the continent.

She expressed commitment to working with partners and government colleagues to address barriers such as visa regulations, safety concerns, and limited air access. The Minister concluded by highlighting South Africa’s unique landscapes, tourism products, and experiences, expressing gratitude to all South Africans for their continuous hospitality and warm welcome to visitors. The future looks bright for South Africa as it aims for sustained charm, attractiveness, and relentless tourism growth.

Its been a year since Kenyans started enjoying visa-free travel to South Africa for a period of 90 days in a year. The announcement was made on 9th November 2023, in a joint press briefing, by H.E. Dr. William Samoei Ruto, CGH, President of the Republic of Kenya, and H.E. Matamela Cyril Ramaphosa, President of the Republic of South Africa. At the time of the announcement, President Cyril Ramaphosa was in Kenya for his first official trip to the country from 8th – 9th November 2022 at the invitation of President Ruto.

The enhanced accessibility and convenience afforded by direct flights have incentivized more Kenyan and South African travelers to explore opportunities, fostering increased tourism, business engagements, and cultural exchanges. This improved ease of movement not only reflects positively on the airline industry but also serves as a testament to the strengthened ties and mutual interest between Kenya and South Africa.

Kenya Airways flies direct to both Johannesburg and Cape Town South Africa.

(Source: South African Tourism Board)

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