The country’s earnings from tourism rose by 3.9 per cent in 2019 to Ksh. 163.56 billion (US$ 1.61 billion) following an increase in the number of visitors in the period under review, Tourism Cabinet Secretary (CS) Najib Balala has revealed
According to the Tourism CS, approximately 2.05 million tourists visited the country in 2019, an increase of 1 per cent from the number recorded in 2018.
Despite the slightly improved statistics, Kenya is not a favored international tourist destination when compared to other African nations such as South Africa with recent cases of insecurity in the country affecting the number of tourist arrivals.
The tourism CS however reckons that the sector will pick up further in 2020 following the launch of Google Street View for the country’s 21 national parks and one conservancy.
Street View is a 360-degree ground-level imagery layer found on Google Maps. Users are able to remotely explore landmarks, navigate a trip, explore the streets of cities and towns, and visit other places of interest from around the world. In Kenya, imagery has already been published for major cities, towns, roads and other places of interest. Capturing of the national parks imagery was the second phase.
According to CS Balala, Google Street View will allow potential visitors to virtually experience what Kenya has to offer in terms of tourism before settling on a travel destination.
“Google Street View will bring Kenya to the world, by providing a global audience with tools to virtually explore Kenya’s cities, other urban centres, attractions and places of interest; and also bring the world to Kenya, by growing a user’s interest to physically visit a place of interest that they have experienced virtually.”
Some of the parks whose imagery have been published are the Maasai Mara; Amboseli; Nairobi National Park; Mount Kenya; Hell’s Gate; Samburu National Reserve and Ol Pejeta Conservancy among others.