Image for representational purposes only.

Image for representational purposes only.
| Photo Credit: AFP

Revenue from tourism in Kenya jumped nearly a third in 2023 over the previous year beating the pre-pandemic numbers, according to the Tourism Ministry.

Kenya has been a major tourist destination in East Africa, traditionally attracting visitors from across the world to its wildlife parks and Indian Ocean beaches.

A ministry report seen by AFP on March 31 said revenue rose 31.5% last year to hit 352.5 billion shillings (nearly $2.7 billion). But per capita spending in dollar terms by the 1.95 million visitors fell.

“Despite the increase in the number of visitors in 2023 as compared to 2022, the average per capita expenditure in U.S. dollars decreased significantly,” the report said. “This is partly attributed to the sustained depreciation of the Kenya shilling against the major currencies.”

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, tourism brought in about $2.24 billion in 2019 from two million visitors or about 10% of GDP. Americans accounted for the largest number of 2023 arrivals at 2,65,310, followed by Ugandans (2,01,623), Tanzanians (1,57,818) and 1,56,700 from the United Kingdom.

The ministry hopes to welcome 2.4 million tourists this year.

In January, Kenya’s immigration services said the first batch of foreign tourists had arrived under a simplified “visa-free” entry system it hoped would encourage more visitors.


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