In a surprising revelation, Manchester City’s dynamic midfielder Kalvin Philips, fresh off his loan move to West Ham United, has sparked a social media frenzy by naming Kenya as his preferred holiday getaway. The Kenya Tourism Board is rolling out the red carpet, thrilled to be in the spotlight.
During a rapid-fire interview after joining West Ham, the question about his favorite holiday destination prompted an immediate and unequivocal response from Philips – Kenya. The news rippled across social media, with Kenyan football commentator Arap Uria waving the national flag and fans pledging allegiance to West Ham solely based on Philips’ holiday preference.
The Kenya Tourism Board enthusiastically extended an invitation, urging both Philips and the entire West Ham squad to experience the magic of Kenya. In a post, KTB wrote; “Hey Kalvin Philips, come kick it in Kenya again sometime soon and bring the whole West Ham team with you.”
Philips, in the midst of the media sitdown, also disclosed that Kevin De Bruyne is the best player he’s ever shared the pitch with. Kenyan Premier League enthusiasts can’t help but resonate with this choice, as De Bruyne’s brilliance is well-admired in the region.
Beyond football, Philips showcased his diverse interests, from golf to basketball, and highlighted his Champions League triumph with Manchester City as a career highlight. He anticipates exploring London’s night views during his time with West Ham. Revealing his energetic playing style, Philips affectionately dubbed himself the “Yorkshire Pirlo” and proclaimed steak as his favorite meal.
This news comes just a few weeks after the Kenya Tourism Board’s Annual Tourism Sector Performance Report for 2022 highlighted a remarkable 70.45% increase in international tourist arrivals, reaching 1,483,752. The inbound receipts soared to Kshs. 268.09 billion, marking an 83% growth compared to the previous year. Flight landings at Kenyan airports increased by 38% to 62,000 in 2022, approaching pre-COVID-19 levels.
As Philips embarks on his West Ham journey, the KTB’s focus remains on attracting over 5 million tourists annually by 2030. The statistics from the first half of 2023 reveal a 32% growth in tourist arrivals, reaching 847,810, and total tourism receipts surging to $1.1 billion.
The England midfielder, having undergone a medical on Friday, January 26, and is set to make his mark at West Ham during his loan spell. Fans are curious about the future after he snubbed the likes of Crystal Palace, Newcastle, Atletico Madrid, Barcelona, and Juventus who also expressed interest.
Beyond the holiday season, Kenya’s tourism boom post-COVID-19 is attributed to strategic investments in infrastructure, diversification of source markets, domestic tourism growth, and the recovery of global economies. Kenya’s rise as a premier tourist destination receives an unexpected boost with Kalvin Philips’ admiration, making it a story that transcends the boundaries of sports and tourism.