Air Transport and Growth of Tourism in Kenya, published in Nairobi,Kenya.
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Tourism has become an important foreign exchange earner in Kenya. Today, it is the second largest foreign exchange earner after tea. The industry could not have experienced the rapid growth if it were not for affordable, reliable and efficient air transport services available in the country. International and domestic air services play a major role in the development of tourism sector. The industry has also stimulated the growth of aviation sector in the country. The two economic sectors are interdependent. The purpose of this article is to examine the role of commercial air transport in the promotion of tourism in Kenya. Thorough literature search and review was undertaken. Personal observations and interviews with the key informants were also used to obtain relevant data and/ or information. The article demonstrates that Kenya has a wide variety of tourist resources that draw about 1 million visitors to the country annually. Majority of these visitors come by air. Commercial air transportation became well established after World War II with the establishment of a multinational airline. The East African Airways Corporation (EAAC). The airline was run by Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania until 1977 when it collapsed due to mismanagement and political interference. By the late 960s and early 1970s, Kenya had become one of the top tourism destinations in Africa. This period witnessed a remarkable growth in air charter services to and from Kenya. The air charter flights mainly originated from Europe. To stimulate growth of tourism further, numerous airports and airfields were built throughout the country with some being upgraded to international status. However, most of the airport infrastructure has deteriorated over the years due to lack of proper maintenance. Cumbersome flight procedures, inadequate venture capital to invest in aviation and tourism sectors and stiff competition from other tourist destinations in Africa all adversely affect the growth of tourism and aviation sectors in the country.