MOMBASA, Kenya, Jan. 7 (Xinhua) -- Kenya earned about 157 billion shillings (about 1.55 billion U.S. dollars) from tourism in 2018, up from 1.18 billion dollars in 2017, reflecting a 31.26 percent growth, a government official said on Monday.
Najib Balala, cabinet secretary in the ministry of tourism and wildlife, said international visitor arrivals increased from 1.47 million in 2017 to 2.02 million in 2018, representing a growth of about 37 percent.
"Kenya's tourism performance for the year 2018 has seen a substantial improvement compared to 2017 in both tourism arrivals, domestic tourism performance and earnings," said Balala who presented the tourism sector performance report 2018 to President Uhuru Kenyatta in Mombasa.
He said that domestic tourism bed occupancy increased from 3.64 million in 2017 to 3.97 million in 2018, depicting a 9 percent increase.
Balala singled out the improvement of infrastructure at the tourism resorts in the Coast and across the country as a key contributor to the growth as well as political stability and improved security.
The report cites political stability, improved security, growth in the aviation sector including the direct flights to the U.S. and investor confidence as some of the drivers for the growth witnessed in sector last year.
Balala said revitalised marketing efforts such as digital marketing and global campaigns and hosting of international conferences including the first ever global conference on Sustainable Blue Economy and the Africa Hotels Investment Forum also contributed to the growth.
The report shows that the top market source for foreign tourists to Kenya is the U.S., with 225,157 travelers which represents 11.12 percent of the total arrivals.