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Kenya eyes huge increase in number of tourists from Nigeria


ABUJA, Dec. 11 (Xinhua )-- Kenya plans to attract 50,000 tourists from Nigeria next year, compared with 15,029 in 2012, a visiting Kenyan tourism official said Wednesday.

"Our entry into this market is poised to increase the number of travellers to Kenya to over 50,000 in the coming future," Fatima Bashir, acting regional marketing manager of the Kenya Tourism Board, told a news conference here.

With the Kenya Airways operating direct flights from Lagos, Bashir said access to Kenya by Nigerians had been very smooth.

She added the airline planned to introduce direct flights from Abuja next year.

Bashir said the tourism sector in Kenya was thriving and contributing 11 percent to the East African country' s GDP.

On security, she reassured tourists that the country was safe in spite of the Westgate Mall terrorists attack in Nairobi in September.

"The unfortunate incident is not isolated to Kenya and we have henceforth come out more resilient with support from across the globe as we all condemn global terrorism."

"We have the tourism police unit, which is present in all major cities and in the parks to ensure the safety of the visitor and the Kenyan. Further to this, in every tourist vehicle, we have 24-7 call center that allows them to be in touch with a Nairobi police unit continuously, should anything happen," she said.

Bashir also said the recent launch of single visa for East African countries was a step ahead to growing tourism on the continent.

She added that the massive expansion of Jomo Kenyatta International Airport would boost tourism in the country.

"The expansion program, including the completion of terminal four at the end of 2013, will handle an additional number of 2.5 million passengers from the current 6.5 million," she said.