Kenya Tourism and Events

Word Count: 2195


Kenya, is a British Commonwealth Country (The Commonwealth, 2016), in the southern continent of Africa. It’s rich natural and cultural resources are the main attraction of the country. The country's wildlife and deep rooted culture will be covered in this website. Another distinct characteristic to be considered by the client should be the overall safety of the country, which is covered in depth below. The website is provided for the client to conclude the viability of the country holding their festival.

The concept of mobility is simple; it’s the movement of objects, people, and information globally. It’s vital to the day to day life of tourism within a country, for example marketing provides information which cultivates interest causing inflows of tourists to destinations which gives life to tourism and events. The idea of the experience economy is selling goods and services, which is important as Kenya will need to sell the tourism resources to the global market.


• To give the client a clear idea as to whether Kenya is a viable destination to hold a festival

Travel Flows, international and intraregional

Travel flows for international tourists to a country can be for many reasons including; leisure, business, religious, visiting friends and relatives or to attend mega events and small festivals.

International visitors are defined as ‘those whose country of residence is different from the country visited’ (OCED, 2001). The levels of international visitors over the last few years in Kenya have decreased (UNWTO, 2016), a probable cause being the rise in safety concerns (shown in the figure below). It should be noted the country has consistently had international tourist numbers above 1,000,000 over the last five years, with the money generated not being less than 700,000,000 US $ (see figure 1 below). Most of the international tourists arrive from countries in Europe (Kabukuru,W. 2014a). However, although many countries have issued warnings about traveling to Kenya, e.g. United Kingdom (GOV.UK. 2016a).

Figure 1. International Tourists and Receipts (UNWTO, 2016)

In contrast to this, intraregional tourism is more about people traveling to a different country with in their own region. For example, this would mean for Kenya anyone traveling within the continent of Africa to Kenya. Kenya has had to take action to increase this due to its fall in international tourists over the years (Kabukuru,W. 2014b).

This links into tourism and events well because it’s clear to see that the client should not be reliant on international visitors to give them a substantial attendance to the event. However, they can look elsewhere for the numbers, for example intraregional and domestic visitors.

Domestic Visitors

Kenya has been forced to develop domestic tourism to save its tourism sector over the last few years due to the decrease in international tourists. The Kenyan Government created incentives for businesses and locals to visit certain destinations - paid holidays, and tax breaks. For example to create more business tourism, the government now holds its conferences in hotels (Kabukuru,W 2014b). According to the Kenyan Tourist Board, domestic tourism accounts for 35% of overnight stays in hotels (2014) and aims to increase it to 60% by 2018 (Kenyan Tourist Board, 2014, cited in, Kabukuru,W 2014). These plans have been successful so far in terms of spending, however it will need improving for growth, which is shown in the figures below.

From figure 2 below it can be seen that the nominal price for domestic expenditure has increased by KES 24.6bn between 2014 and 2015, which has allowed a constant projection of increase until 2016. This is a positive sign of the domestic tourism, as it shows there is more spend per person. However, when you look at the growth potential of the tourism expenditure (see figure 3) it’s clear that this doesn’t necessarily show a positive outlook, having been predicted to decrease over the coming years due to the drop of growth from 2015. This will be important to events and tourism as the growth will need to increase to give the festival a good number of visitors, as the international tourists are less predictable.

Figure 2. Travel and Tourism: Nominal Prices (World Travel and Tourism Council, 2016)
Figure 3. Travel and Tourism: Growth (World Travel and Tourism Council, 2016)

Transport to and within the country

From my research, even though the country has transport, the levels are inconsistent. This could be important as although it may not be an issue for international tourists arriving, it will be an issue for domestic and intraregional visitors who must travel through less populated areas, where the level of transport is lacking. Types of transport available include; air, bus, boat, taxi and matatu (Lonely Planet, 2016a).

• Air -Kenyan Airways is Kenya’s main airline operator. The airline operates to 3 main airports, in Nairobi, Mombasa, and Kisumu, connecting to smaller national airports (Kenya Airways. 2016).

• Boats are rarely used for transport, they are not engine propelled and regarded as mainly experience opportunities for visitors. However, there is a ferry between the mainland and Mombasa island for transport (Lonely Planet, 2016b).

• Buses travel within cities and on longer journeys into the countryside, with good coverage also around the south as well as the major cities. Offering on board facilities on long haul journeys like DVD’s and toilets (Lonely Planet, 2016c).

• Taxi and Matatu – Taxis tend to be a banged-up car costing around Ksh400 for short journeys, usually not pre-book. Matatu, most popular form of public transport but is often deemed more dangerous than other form of transport (Lonely Planet, 2016d).

Destination resources and key events

Kenya offers a vast range of resources and events that are push factors for all visitors. These are important for the client and can be utilised and understood to get the most for their festival. These are covered below and are separated into relevant sections:

Key natural resources

Natural resources are defined as climate and landscape of an area (Sustainable Tourism, 2016a). Kenya is largely dependent on the power of appeal of these, with the wildlife being a big international draw (Sustainable Tourism, 2016b). A few key resources are highlighted below:

• Mount Kenya is the tallest mountain in the Kenya, it is a popular site with both international and domestic tourists to climb. (Mount Kenya Tourism Circuit Association, 2012)

• Nairobi National Park is a wildlife park located just outside of Nairobi. It is home to various animals. It has the means to cope year-round there for appealing to all kinds of tourist. (Kenya Wildlife Service, 2016)

• Nairobi Arboretum is a garden in the capital. Made in 1907 to introduce Kenya to forestry tree’s. It has now flourished and become a key stop off point for visitors. (Nature Kenya, 2016).

Mount Kenya

Key cultural resources

Cultural resources are defined as urban heritage, art and traditions (Sustainable Tourism, 2016c). This has had a similar effect on the draw for tourists, with the music and the Maasai Tribe being factors. A few key resources are highlighted below:

• Maasai Mara Tribe is one of the most famous tribes is in south Kenya, and is popular with tourists globally. They are currently developing into the modern world with schools and medical care. (Maasai Association, 2014)

• Music is mainly drumming and dance. Even though the music has changed over time into rap and hip-hop, the traditional element is the draw for visitors. (Kenya Travel Ideas, 2016)

• Kenyan food has been influenced by settlers over the years. Specific tribes will boast about their own specific staple dish. It is served everywhere from hotels to entertainment venues. (Kenya Information Guide, 2015)

Maasai tribe

Key events

Events are defined as something that takes place. The key events that has been chosen below are highlighted by the Kenyan Tourist Board (Magical Kenya, 2016).

• Rhino Charge is an off-road car rally stretching 100 square miles, in the Aberdares National Park. The event is run to raise money for Aberdare Ecosystems. This is largely popular with the domestic visitors. (Magical Kenya, 2016)

• Lamu Cultural Festival is a week-long celebration of the community, in Lamu. They have other events going on as well with swimming and Swahili poetry. This again is popular with the domestic visitors and locals. (Magical Kenya, 2016)

• Lake Turkana Festival is located on South East coast of Lake Turkana, in Loiyangalani. It’s a three-day carnival which unites all tribes associated with the town. It’s becoming a popular tourist destination. (Magical Kenya, 2016)

Lamu Cultural festival

Specific Case study- Maralal Camel Derby

The Maralal Camel Derby is a three-day sports event, towards the end of August. Held just outside of Maralal in Central Kenya, the Yare Safaris event allows competitors to race camels. This event has adapted throughout the years, and has gone from an established sport to a concentrated event. It has developed into a popular event, which is shown by international visitors flying in for it from places such as Europe, Middle East, and China, as well as drawing in domestic tourism. The Camel Derby has an overall aim of to promote tourism with sports events and cohesion of communities through competition. This allows the local community to benefit from the event as well as the visitors, as the visitors will join in the festivities around the area of the event. This event was introduced over a decade ago, and has been successful with the Kenyan Tourist boards constant support. The reason this event is important to highlight is it allows the client to see the kind of events already run in the country, with the cultural and historical themes in place. This event is also key as it will show what events draws in international visitors as well as domestic, as well as having the experience of running an event for a long period. (Magical Kenya, 2014)

SWOT analysis

The SWOT analysis, below, shows the client how well the strengths and the weaknesses add up against each other, as well as the opportunities and threats. This allows the client to begin to shape the opinion as to whether Kenya is a viable destination for their event.

Kenya has various strengths that allows it to be a viable destination for the festival, these include; the wildlife being a draw with safaris, also the cultural and historical resources available. Another strength that should be highlighted will be the government have put in measures to increase the domestic tourism. This will be important as it will give the client a base for visitor numbers for the event. This links into the point that there are already events that have succeeded over time, these will be important as the client can use them as a preference guide for their target audience.

Moving to the weaknesses, there have been a few issues highlighted above including the inconstant levels of transport in rural areas compared to urban areas. Also, the issues of safety to do with localised crime including mugging and kidnapping (GOV.UK. 2016b).

There are several opportunities that come from holding the event in Kenya. There are opportunities to work with the government to reduce overall safety concerns, even though it will not go away completely. They can also be reduced by the company itself, by employing local security people to work on the event. This will help reduce the local crime.

Finally, threats should be addressed, with the key threat being of a terrorist attack from Al-Shabab (Nyingi, 2016). This has been a key issue with areas deemed unsafe for any visitor, for example Northern Kenya (GOV.UK. 2016c). However, this does not mean that all other areas are safe. Furthermore, depending on the type of event, it is likely that similar events could exist geographically local countries. Therefore, international visitors may have a more local event they can attend, which could be cheaper and more secure.


When looking at running an event in Kenya it will be key to complete these recommendations listed below:

• Employ local people to help run the event, this will help reduce local crime

• Even though the terrorist threat cannot be fully sorted, the client could work with the government to reduce the threat

• Working with the transport sector to allow a high level of connection throughout the visitor’s journeys to and from the event

• Advertisement should be strong for both domestic and international visitors, so then the predictability of visitor’s numbers is realistic

• When choosing the event, utilise the information of the previous events held in the region


To conclude all the sections that have been covered above wrap-up the overall viability of Kenya to hold the client’s event. In conclusion Kenya, would not be a viable destination for the client to hold their event. This is because the client will want to be holding an event for international visitors as well as domestic visitors. This has a very slim chance of happening due to the low numbers of international visitors, which is unlikely to change due to the high safety concerns (GOV.UK. 2016d). Even though the country’s large amount of culture would be useful to the client when creating the event, as well as having a good amount of other attractions for the visitors to attend.


International Tourists and Receipts (UNWTO (2016) Tourism Highlights Available: http:// (cited 11th November 2016)

GOV.UK. (2016). Travel Advice: Kenya. Available: Last accessed 18th December 2016.

Lonely Planet (2016) Essential Information (online) (cited 11th November 2016)

Kabukuru,W. (2014). Kenya looks inwards to battle tourism crisis. Available: Last accessed 18th December.

Kenya Airways. (2016). Flights from Kenya. Available: Last accessed 18th December 2016.

Kenya Information Guide (2015) Kenya Food. Available: Last accessed 11th November 2016)

Kenya Travel Ideas (2016) Kenya Music. Available: Last accessed 11th November 2016)

Kenyan Tourist Board, 2014, cited in, Kabukuru,W. (2014). Kenya looks inwards to battle tourism crisis. Available: Last accessed 18th December.

Kenya Wildlife Service. (2016). Nairobi National Park. Available: Last accessed 15th December 2016.

Magical Kenya, 2014) Lake Turkana Festival, Loiyangalani Available: Last accessed 11th November 2016)

Magical Kenya (2014) Lamu Cultural Festival Available: Last accessed 11th November 2016)

Magical Kenya (2014) Maralal Camel Derby Available: Last accessed 11th November 2016)

Magical Kenya (2014) Rhino Charge Available: (cited 11th November 2016)

Magical Kenya. (2016). What to do. Available: Last accessed 15th December 2016.

Nature Kenya. (2016). Nairobi Arboretum . Available: Last accessed 15th December 2016.

Nyingi, J. (2016). Kenya’s battered tourism sector receives a 'shot in the arm'. Available: 1. Travel and Tourism: Nominal Prices (World Travel and Tourism Council (2016) Travel and Tourism Economic Impact Available: Last accessed 15th December 2016

OCED. (2001). International Visitors. Available: Last accessed 15th December 2016.

Sustainable Tourism. (2016). Tourism Resources. Available: Last accessed 15th December 2016.

The Commonwealth. (2016). Member Countries. Available: Last accessed 18th December 2016

Travel and Tourism: Nominal Prices (World Travel and Tourism Council (2016) Travel and Tourism Economic Impact Available: (cited 11th November 2016)

Travel and Tourism: Growth (World Travel and Tourism Council (2016) Travel and Tourism Economic Impact Available: (cited 11th November 2016)

UNWTO (2016) Tourism Highlights. Available: (cited 11th November 2016)


Created with images by puliarf - "Lion Eyes" • ST33VO - "Kenya Airways Boeing 777-2U8(ER)" • Conservation Concepts - "Big Dhow" • ditzy`girl - "Kenyan Taxi" • neilward - "Matatu driver" • Ai@ce - "200812_kenya_44" • Ninara - "IMG_0335 Kenya" • hktang - "Donkey race, Lamu, Kenya 2010"

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