Kenya- Growth of Tourism

In 1958, the Board of Wildlife and Tourism was set up in Kenya to improve and increase tourism within the country. Independence was achieved in 1963, and with foreign investment, the Kenyan economy grew.

Revenue from tourism grew from US$25.2 million to US$40.4 million from 1963 to 1968.

The boom in the 1960’s of package holidays meant long haul flights were cheaper and made Kenya accessible to tourists. Kenya was one of the first LICs to open up to mass tourism. Kenya allows tourists to see any of 19 National Parks, as well as having a long coastline and dramatic scenery.

In 1976, the Board of Wildlife and Tourism made plans to imrpove facilities in new National Park and invest directly into tourist services.

Between 1981 and 1987 Kenya was the most popular African tourist destination, accounting for 30% of East African tourist arrivals. The shilling’s relative value fell, making the trip effectively cheaper for foreign visitors.

In the 1990’s, publicised murders of tourists caused a reduction in growth. Other African tourist destinations were catching up in popularity, growing to major competition. In 1995, South African tourism grew by 25% in revenue. Instability deterred many tourists.

Instability continued into the 2000’s. Terrorist attacks and riots in 2007 caused many governments (largely European) to advise tourists not to visit. This had a major effect as 70% of Kenyan tourist arrivals were European. Kenya is estimated to have lost US$500 million because of this. Increasing taxes also hindered growth as other countries became cheaper destinations.

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