Nearly 1.7 million people visited Kenya in 2005, marking an increase of 23 per cent over the previous year, the Kenya tourist board has said. The same source put the total revenue from tourism at Ksh48.9 billion ($682 million), up 16 per cent over 2004. The largest numbers of visitors came from the United Kingdom, Germany and the United States.

These figures are corroborated by the World Tourism Organisation, which registered a growth rate in tourism in Kenya of over 26 per cent between January and October 2005, behind Mozambique (up 37 per cent between January and September) but ahead of South Africa (11 per cent).

2005 marked the second consecutive year of growth for the Kenyan tourist industry after over a decade of stagnation, partly due to crime, banditry and terrorism. Most tourists still head for the Indian Ocean coast or the game parks but the sector is now looking to diversify, for example by promoting the countrys palaeontological and archaeological sites, as well as to encourage tourists to spend more. Tourism is Kenyas second foreign exchange earner after tea.

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