Kenya’s tourism revenue jumped 20 percent in 2017

Medina Palms in Watamu
Medina Palms in Watamu. Photo: Facebook/Herdtracker.

On Thursday, Kenyan tourism minister Najib Balala revealed that the country’s revenue from tourism last year increased by 20 percent. The growth comes as the sector continues to recover from a series of terrorist attacks on the country that led to travel advisories and deterred foreign visitors.

Visitor numbers and tourism earnings fell between 2012 and 2015 following a spate of attacks claimed by Islamist terrorist group al-Shabaab. However, these attacks have reduced which has aided the tourism industry to recover.

Alongside tea and horticulture, tourism is one of Kenya’s largest revenue streams, totalling Ksh120 billion shillings for the year.

1.47 million tourists arrived in Kenya last year, which although an increase of 1.34 million in 2016, there is still some way to go until it returns to its peak of 1.83 million in 2011.

“Kenya grew stronger in 2017 as a destination brand following positive visibility… This was achieved despite a busy electioneering season that threatened to slow down tourism activities.” – Najib Balala

The tourism minister said the sector is expected to grow further this year, helped by bigger investment and marketing of key attractions with President Uhuru Kenyatta’s government targeting 3 million visitors a year, according to a manifesto published when Kenyatta was first elected in early 2013.