Kenya’s tourism revenue rose by 31 percent to Ksh352.5 billion last year, buoyed by a surge in African visitors, according to the latest data from the government.

Statistics reveal that among the top ten countries in each region, Africa took the lead with 679,012 visitors, followed by Europe with 477,526, the Americas (319,220), Asia (182,027), Oceania (26,265), and the Middle East with 14,173 visitors, out of a total of 1.9 million tourists who visited the country last year.

Uganda topped the list of countries contributing tourists to Kenya, with 201,623 visitors, followed by Tanzania at 157,818.

Despite this, the United States maintained its position as Kenya’s primary tourism market, with visitor numbers reaching 265,310 during the review period.

The influx of arrivals drove revenue to its highest levels since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, with numbers rising by 32 percent to 1.95 million in 2023, according to the government’s Tourism Research Institute.

Of the total tourist arrivals, 1,351,438 (69.3 percent) and 154,203 (7.9 percent) entered Kenya through Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi and Moi International Airport in Mombasa, respectively.

Other significant entry points contributing to the numbers were Busia with 147,125 (7.54 percent), Namanga at 109,050 (5.6 percent), and Malaba with 47,132 (2.4 percent).

Kenya has long been a key tourist destination in East Africa, drawing visitors from around the globe to its wildlife reserves and stunning Indian Ocean coastlines.

However, despite the increased number of visitors in 2023 compared to 2022, the average spending per person in US dollars declined, attributed in part to the weaker shilling against major currencies in the review period.

Notably, China emerged as the most improved source market, recording a remarkable 161 percent increase, followed by Italy with 121 percent, South Korea with 99 percent, and Australia with 89 percent.

The primary purposes of travel were holiday trips, accounting for 45 percent, visiting family and relatives (VFR) at 24 percent, and Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, and Exhibitions (MICE) also at 24 percent.