Total tourist arrivals increased from 65,400 tourists in 1965 to 830,000 in 1993. Hotel bed-night occupancy of 5.5 million was recorded in 1992. The sector provides direct employment to about 170,000 people and indirectly to another 340,000.
Tourism sector is Kenya's leading foreign exchange earner followed by agriculture (tea and coffee).
Continental Europe is the major tourist generating region with a market share of 60 per cent of tourist arrivals to Kenya. American visitors to Kenya have increased from an average of 40,000 visitors in early 1989s to 79,000 in 1988.
The main tourist attractions in Kenya include the wildlife which is mostly accessible through a system of parks and reserves. There are over 45 national parks and game reserves in Kenya.
For most visitors, Kenya means, above all, a safari across the savannah to view the game - elephants, lions, leopards, rhinoceros, cheetah, giraffe, hippopotamus, wildebeest, antelope, gazelle, impala, monkey, hyena, baboon, waterbuck, and many others in their national habitat.
Kenya is also habitat of most of the 1,500 or so species listed for the eastern half of tropical Africa. The Great Rift Valley, one of the wonders of the world, contains the planet's largest concentration of flamingoes in Lakes Nakuru and Bogoria.
Kenya's coastline is famous for its hundreds of miles of clean, sandy, palm fringed coral beaches, lapped by the clear, blue waters of Indian Ocean. The coast is well served by first class holiday hotels and resorts with facilities for tennis, scuba, golf and a variety of water sports.
Elsewhere in the country, opportunity also exist for a wide range of sports and hobbies, including sport-fishing, golf, mountain climbing, riding, sailing and some of the best bird watching in the world.
Tourist hotels and lodges are operated at international standards with well equipped facilities for major international conferences.