MOMBASA, KENYA: Mixed reaction greeted the government’s decision to slash the Sh12.8 billion earlier allocated to the Tourism Ministry.
Out of the earlier allocation, Sh3.42 billion has been slashed leaving the tourism budget with Sh9.4 billion.
Kenya Tourism Federation (KTF) National chairman, Mohamed Hersi termed the move as highly regrettable adding that it was expected that due to the ravaging Covid-19 pandemic, tourism gets adequate funding to help it recover.
''The new scenario will now compel Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) to scale down on its marketing operations,'' Hersi who is also Director of Operations at the Pollmans Tours and Safaris Company said.
In a supplementary budget released last week by the National Treasury, the allocation was reduced thus cutting funds for tourism marketing.
And the Kenya Association of Hotelkeepers and Caterers (Kahc) Coast branch executive officer, Dr. Sam Ikwaye said that the move was not the best news for tourism since during major crisis, destinations are forgotten and more so with all the negative vibe about Kenya in matters corruption, growing tension associated with the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) and the forthcoming 2022 general elections.
''As it stands now, it is difficult to comprehend how the industry will survive in the coming days. Most investors have no idea how to survive the prevailing tough times caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. There are suppliers to hotels and staff who need prompt payments and we cannot conclusively say when we expect business to resume meaning we have no resources to deploy to marketing,'' Ikwaye said.
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He said the industry hoped that the government equips KTB more than ever to help maintain Kenyan presence in the market as the industry hopes to reap in the next season.