Thousands of Kenyans are trooping to Tanzania despite frosty relations between two nations

According to data from Tanzania’s Immigration Services Department, Kenya is the leading source market for visitors to Tanzania.

According to data from Tanzania’s Immigration Services Department released in October a notable number of Kenyans visited Tanzania in 2016.

A total of 233,730 Kenyans crossed the border, an increase of 36,000 from the 2015 figures and even surpassed Americans to become Tanzania’s leading source market for visitors.

In 2016, 86,860 Americans visited Tanzania, followed by 69,876 Indians and 67,642 Britons.

Tanzania is a popular tourist destination and boost of interesting towns and cities offering unique culture and history about the 'Soul of Africa'.

It is also home to Africa’s tallest mountain, Mt Kilimanjaro, world’s famous Serengeti National Park, where the famed annual migration of wildebeest takes place, and the Ngorongoro Crater.

Majority of Kenyans however didn’t go to Tanzania to have fun, most went to Tanzania for meetings and conferences, business and to visit friends and relatives, in that order.

“The majority of visitors from the top source markets to Tanzania who came for leisure and holidays were from the US, the UK, Italy and Germany,” reads International Visitors’ Exit Survey Report.

Although Kenya had the largest number of visitors to Tanzania, the European countries brought more foreign exchange earnings.

Chinese tourists had the highest average expenditure of $541 per person per night compared to Burundians and Zambians who spent less than $100 per person per night, including accommodation.

“Tourists who came to visit friends and relatives were mainly from Kenya and the UK. Visitors from Zambia and Zimbabwe mostly came for business,” notes the report.

The numbers are encouraging and show that despite the two nations not Seeing Eye to eye on many issues their citizens still enjoy warm relations.

Kenyans and animal activists erupted in uproar last year when Tanzania authorities doused 6,400 one-day-old chicks from Kenya in petrol and set them ablaze, citing bird flu fears.

A few days earlier, Tanzania had auctioned over 1,300 Kenyan cattle for about Sh93 million after the cows crossed over to its border.

President John Magufuli later released a terse statement warning Kenya that his country was not a grazing field for Kenyan animals.

Magufuli also gave a wide berth to his Kenyan counterpart inauguration, something analysts pointed to the uneasy relationship between the two countries.

Apart from that, the two members of East African Community (EAC) also enjoy simmering trade tensions and suspicions and have imposed several trade tariffs and barriers which continue to hurt local manufacturers and traders.

Kenya’s exports to Tanzania in the 10 months to October plunged to a 10-year low.

Exports to Tanzania in the period to October stood at Ksh23.38 billion ($227 million), down from Ksh28.86 billion ($280.2 million) in the same period a year earlier — reflecting a 18.9 per cent drop.

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