Kenya is the one of the leading destinations in Africa. The country has expansive white sandy beaches, great climate, picturesque natural attractions, free roaming wildlife and rich traditional cultures. With all these, most Kenyans have held a perception that tourism is for and belongs to foreigners. However, there has been a gradual change, as many local residents have now started embracing tourism and travel.

A while back, there was a rise in negative external factors such as terrorism related incidences in various parts in the country that led to issuance of travel advisories in-turn adversely affecting the tourism industry. Therefore domestic tourism has come in handy at such times to cushion low foreign visitor numbers. Domestic tourism has as well enabled many tourism establishments remain afloat during the low season.

Jumia Travel, formerly Jovago, This morning released a report on domestic tourism market trends in Kenya based on their 2015/2016 booking trends on their website.

While presenting the report, Cyrus Onyiego, Jumia Travel’s Country Manager, noted that most Kenyans still view tourism as a luxury affair adding that most have little knowledge about existing tourism products. He at the same time called on stakeholders to develop tourism products that are favorable to the local client.

A panel discussion was held, and the main call was for a diversified and personalized domestic tourism product that’s aimed at meeting clients’ constant changing needs.

Eugene Too, The Online Revenue Manager at Panari Hotels noted,” devolution has played a major role in opening up counties and creating opportunities for domestic travel.” He said this while sharing insights in a panel discussion on the report, adding that the Kenya Tourism Board and other stakeholders need to diversify and formulate proper frameworks for development of domestic tourism products.

Alfrida Boinnet, the CEO and Founder of the Private Collection, added that there was growing demand for group and family travel. “A rise in family friendly packages is inevitable as many families nowadays opt to travel as one and stay together with minimal restrictions,” she said.

Private Collection facilities include the Naivasha Kongoni Lodge and Wileli House in Naivasha, Swahili House in the South Coast and Poa Place Eldoret.

Here are detailed excerpts from the report.

Approximately 60% bookings on are made by Kenyan residents. The Kenyan coast leads as the most popular destination at 30 percent. It also has the most number of rooms and those booked as well. Nairobi is the second at 29 percent. Nairobi as a hub holds a significant 27 percent of available rooms on Jumia Travel. Nakuru/Naivasha takes a combined 17 percent of the total bookings. They have become hot beds of short holidays and corporate conference getaways due to their close proximity to the capital city.

The Mount Kenya region takes up 5 percent of the local travelers, and accounts for 7 percent of the total bookings on Jumia Travel. Kisumu and Eldoret have shown tremendous growth that is partly attributed to devolution and increased destination awareness campaigns.

Perhaps due to the popularity of mobile payment methods in Kenya, Mpesa is still the most popular mode of payment at 60 percent, with most clients going for the pre-paid booking option. Electronic Funds Transfer as a payment method for these bookings stands at 26 percent while swiping of cards doesn’t seem much popular standing at 14 percent.

Half of the local bookings on Jumia Travel are made by families at 51 percent. 13 percent by traveling groups of friends, another 13 percent by solo travelers while business travelers consists of 23 percent of the total bookings.

A comparative report on Nigeria shows some significant difference to Kenya.

65 percent bookings in Nigeria are by solo travelers while business travel accounts for only 12 percent, group travel at 8 percent and family travel at 6 percent. The report shows that men are frequent travelers in both countries with 64 percent and 78 percent accounting for male travelers in Kenya and Nigeria respectively. However, the report reveals that Kenya has more female travelers at 36 percent compared to Nigeria’s 22 percent.

83 percent bookings are done on desktop computers while 17 percent of the total bookings are from mobile phones.

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Consultant in Tourism | Conservation Enthusiast | Budding Travel Writer - banter and everything travel.

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