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Kenya’s tourism industry looking up

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The number of tourist arrivals in the country has increased by 18 per cent since the start of the year as industry players ramp up promotions to make up for falling numbers from traditional source markets in Europe.

Cabinet Secretary for Tourism Najib Balala Thursday said the industry is further projecting a growth of between 20 per cent and 30 percent increase in the summer season, renewing hopes of the sector’s recovery this year.

“We have been seeing growth since the start of the year and we are already projecting a further increase in the summer season of between 20 per cent and 30 per cent,” said Balala during an Inter-Ministerial Tourism Stakeholder’s Forum in Nairobi.

The industry had been held back in the last three years, mainly due to terror attacks and travel advisories which led to a sharp dip in tourist arrivals.

Tourists arriving at the two main airports namely, Jomo Kenyatta International Airport and Moi International Airport dropped by 13 per cent to 748, 771 last year, a sharp contrast of 1.26 million tourist arrivals registered in 2012, the best year for the industry.

The industry recorded Sh87billion in earnings in 2015.

Balala said the ministry in collaboration with its marketing arm Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) will now embark on the implementation of seven key resolutions reached during a roundtable meeting, which identified a number of issues impacting the sector and recommended mitigating measures.

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Key among the resolutions include pricing of tourism products and services, a review of open sky policy as well as setting up a taskforce to look into security threats and will be done in collaboration with Inspector of police and representation of the private sector.

“A team to monitor levels of travel advisories will also be constituted to constantly advise the government on their tonality and to necessitate government proactive engagement with foreign embassies on necessary action,” he said.

Also on the cards include a plan to persuade Kenya Airways and the Tourism Industry have an ‘interface’ that will see the national carrier put in place incentives in order to open up other hubs in the region in an effort to boost tourist numbers.

“Recovery does not happen overnight, we have a two-year plan which shall be evaluated upon its completion to see the progress we have made. KQ also need to do a lot to get the support from the country,” said the CS.

Meanwhile the CS has expressed confidence that the ministry will in the next financial year receive the Sh3billion recovery fund initially declined by the treasury, expected to be used in marketing Kenya as a tourism destination.




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