Coast hoteliers protest decision to cut tourism budget
By Philip Mwakio | February 16th 2021
The decision by the Treasury to cut the Ministry of Tourism budget by Sh3.42 billion has sparked uproar with hoteliers saying it would hamper the industry's recovery plans.
According to the Supplementary Budget released this week, the Treasury slashed the ministry's spending to Sh9.4 billion from Sh12.8 billion in the previous financial year.
Kenya Tourism Federation (KTF) National Chairman Mohamed Hersi termed the move regrettable, saying the ministry should be allocated adequate funds to turn around the sector hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic.
''This will now compel Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) to scale down its marketing activities," said Hersi, who is also the director of operations at Pollman's Tours and Safaris Company.
Other players complained about the decision by the Treasury to reduce funds meant for tourism marketing, while allocating more resources to entities domiciled at the Ministry of Tourism that did not generate substantial revenue in 2020.
Kenya Association of Hotelkeepers and Caterers Coast Branch Executive Officer Sam Ikwaye noted that the tourism sector requires massive marketing owing to the crises brought about by the pandemic.
"With all the negative vibe about Kenya on matters corruption, the tension associated with the Building Bridges Initiative and the forthcoming general elections, it is hard to comprehend how the industry will survive in the coming days," said Ikwaye.
"Most investors have no idea how to survive in the prevailing tough times. There are suppliers and staff who need to be paid. We have no resources to deploy to marketing."
Ikwaye remained optimistic that the State would heavily equip KTB to market Kenya as a key tourism destination.
Meanwhile, Kilifi Deputy Governor Gideon Saburi has called on Coast hoteliers take advantage of the government's stimulus programme being rolled out by the Tourism Finance Corporation to give their facilities a facelift.
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