Some of the world’s biggest hotel brands including Marriott, Hilton and Rezidor are planning to open hotels in Kenya to cash in on a surge in business travellers from China and the Middle East to east Africa’s biggest economy.

Nairobi, Kenya

Incoming visitors increased 15 percent in Kenya last year. Photo by Eduardo Zarate.

Interest in Kenya from China and other new markets including India and the United Arab Emirates led to a 15 percent surge in visitors to the country to 1.26 million last year, accounting for about 80 percent of total bookings in Nairobi.

Kenya is racing to improve facilities to meet this growing demand, which has important economic implications – the sector generated foreign exchange earnings of 98 billion shillings last year, second only to tea.