Chinese tourists pose for a picture at Uhuru Park grounds in Nairobi, capital of Kenya, Aug. 1, 2019. According to the Kenya Tourism Board, China is the second-largest source of tourists for Kenya in Asia with over 100,000 tourists visiting Kenya last year alone. Photo: (Xinhua/Allan Mutiso).
INTERNATIONAL – Kenya on Wednesday expressed optimism that it will achieve a ten percent growth in international tourist arrivals in 2019, beyond the two million received in 2018.

Najib Balala, cabinet secretary in the Ministry of Tourism and Wildlife told a tourism forum in Nairobi that due to the heightened safety and security measures, Kenya has received several international high profile personalities and heads of states and this shows that the country is increasing its tourism profile globally.

"This proves that Kenya is both a business and diplomatic hub and we are optimistic that we will achieve at least a ten percent growth this year," Balala said during the official opening of magical Kenya travel expo 2019.

Kenya has attracted 139 travel agents, tour operators, hoteliers and trade media from across the world in the ninth edition of the tourism conference.

The expo which is the largest travel forum in the region will see business people from 50 countries across the world converge from Oct. 2 to 4 in Kenya's capital city of Nairobi.

Balala said that in order to sustain growth in the tourism sector, the government has refocused its effort on areas of infrastructure improvement, incentives as well as sustained campaigns on source markets to increase destination awareness.

He observed that cruise tourism is growing globally and Kenya wants to tap into this segment. "Kenya is almost completing the construction of the cruise terminal in the port of Mombasa and we anticipate it will be ready by the end of the year.

This is set to open major businesses in the country and Kenya will be competing with the rest in the world," he added.