Transport and the tourism sector in Kenya
Kenya is transforming fast. There are a myriad of infrastructural developments geared towards developing all sectors of the Kenyan economy. The tourism industry is one of those sectors which stands to gain from these projects. It comes with the added benefit of accessibility to most tourist destinations. But what is the actual impact this has on tourism in Kenya?
80% of Kenya’s transport system are roads, the remaining percentage consists of rail transport, airlines and sea transport. The challenge to the tourism sector has been the state of the roads to some of the gateway parks and tourist attractions.
The two most busy airports, Jomo Kenyatta International Airport and the Mombasa Airport, face competition from other small airstrips which immensely have opened other areas of Kenya. In Homabay County in Western Kenya, the recent refurbishing of the Kabunde airstrip will open up this region to more potential tourists. That region has tourist destinations such as the Rusinga islands and the Ruma game reserve.
The introduction of cheaper flights and the liberalisation of the aviation industry in Kenya has opened up the airspace. These henceforth translates to new flight destinations. Cheaper flights has not only boosted foreign travel but also domestic tourism has been improved.
There is a huge project to complete overhaul the current railway system that has been in place since time immemorial. The new Standard gauge railway seeks to upgrade the railway running from Kenya to Uganda through to Rwanda. With an increased carriage capacity, it means more passengers travelling from one point of the country to another. Upon completion, travel within the East African region is expected to rise.
Although this is yet to be maximised, it is normally an alternative only that it is slow as most tourist prefer air travel. Kenya is in the process of improving its road networks especially within the game reserves, parks and the tourist attractions to improve accessibility. For instance, the construction of arterial roads linking Nairobi-Thika Highway, Mombasa road and JKIA has consequently contributed to the creation of conducive business environment and improvement of travel conditions for both domestic and foreign tourists.
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