Kenya's tourism earnings rose 15 percent in 2006 to 56.2 billion shillings ($799.4 million), boosted by aggressive marketing in traditional markets and new targets in Asia, the tourism authority said on Wednesday.
The Kenya Tourism Board said earnings in 2005 were 48.9 billion shillings.
Kenya, famed for its wildlife safaris and sunny beaches, received 1.8 million visitors in 2006 from 1.6 million in 2005, with the largest numbers arriving from Britain, the United States and Germany.
"The earnings exceeded our projected figure of 53 billion shillings by 5.6 percent," KTB Managing Director Ongong'a Achieng told a news conference.
He attributed the growth to increased flights to the country with the return of charter flights and the introduction of new routes by national carrier Kenya Airways.
"The major growth this year was experienced in China, with 27 percent over 2005," Achieng said. "We project revenue will grow by 10 percent in 2007."
Tourism, one of Kenya's biggest foreign exchange earners, started recovering in 2004 after years of decline, following bombings at the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi in 1998 and a hotel near the Indian Ocean coastal town of Mombasa in 2002.
KTB said it expected a surge in visitors from the U.S. after the Masai Mara Game Reserve was named the 7th new wonder of the world by a panel of experts for ABC News "Good Morning America" and the newspaper USA Today, in November 2006.
The Mara, is famous for the annual migration of millions of wildebeest across the crocodile infested Mara River to the Serengeti Game Reserve in neighboring Tanzania.
But the industry is still grappling with poor roads, limited accommodation and high energy costs, KTB said.
Britons provided 171,409 visitors in 2006 compared with 153,228 in 2005, while tourists from the U.S. rose to 86,528 in 2006 from 73,574 in 2005. Germany had 83,394 visitors compared with 75,780 the previous year, KTB said.