NAIROBI, March 24 (NNN-KBC) — Kenya is ahead of rivals South Africa and Egypt among the leading African destinations for international tourist arrivals in a new report released by flight monitoring company ForwardKeys.

The report, which compares flight reservation data from more than 16 million transactions daily, seeks to shed light on the positioning of African destinations on the global tourism map, ahead of the Africa Hotel Investment Forum (AHIF) to be held in Kigali, Rwanda, this October.

Kenya contributed to 18.2 percent of the total arrivals for Africa in the period under survey (September 2016-January 2017), compared with Egypt’s 17.2 percent and South Africa’s 12.1 per cent.

However, despite having one of Africa’s most connected airports in Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA), the country still lost the top position to neighbouring Tanzania, which led the continent at 19.3 per cent.

Overall, Africa registered strong growth in international arrivals, up by 10.3 percent for the period quoted. Europe remained the leading source of tourists at 47.3 percent, while the Asia-Pacific made a mark as the fastest growing source market; up 21.7 per cent.

The report further attributes Asia’s growth as a source market to factors such as relaxed requirements for travellers from the region; a visa waiver by Morocco, reviewed restrictions by South Africa, availability of direct flights to Kenya as well as the timing of the Chinese New Year celebrations.

Although most of the top ten African destinations saw good year-end performance; Ethiopia and Nigeria fell short of expectations because of to a drop in intra-Africa international arrivals, which showed a worrying decline of 4.0 per cent and 0.8 per cent respectively. Ethiopia also saw a drop in tourists from Europe and Middle East compared to the same period last year.