NAIROBI, International tourist arrivals in Africa grew by more than two million visitors this year driven by strong growth in the key markets of Kenya, South Africa and Mauritius, according to a new report by London-based market research publisher Euro-monitor.

The report received here Thursday said that domestic air travel grew highest in Kenya, rising by 22 per cent, while noting that Kenya's main international airports in Nairobi and Kisumu have been undergoing major expansion in a bid to drive traffic which is project to grow to 20 million passengers by the year 2025.

In the last three years, the Kenyan government has commissioned two new terminals at Nairobi's Jomo Kenyatta Internatioal Airport (JKIA) which have brought the airport's overall capacity to 7.5 million passengers a year.

These investments appear to be paying off, according to the latest data, says Euro-monitor, which notes that long-haul international flights to Kenya grew by 8.0 per cent, making Nairobi the only major African city where domestic air travel is outpacing international traffic.

Domestic air travel recorded 22 per cent growth in 2017, beating its closest competitors -- Tunis and Addis Ababa -- which expanded 14 per cent and 9.0 per cent respectively. The report says domestic air travel has been facilitated by a number of factors, key among them the improvement of key airports.

The growth is also attributed to rising income and lower air fares resulting from stiff competition. Nairobi also saw high numbers of African travellers last year when it led other African cities with a 15 per cent growth.

Euro-monitor predicts that growth in international arrivals to sub-Saharan Africa will reach 25 billion trips by 2022. Arrivals to Africa are expected to see continued growth, driven by increased interest from overseas visitors because of competitive rates.

Aggressive brand marketing campaigns and the introduction of new and increased direct air connectivity to and from major overseas markets is also expected to boost inbound arrivals to the region.


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