Stakeholders poke holes in government's ‘peanut’ tourism allocations
By Mwakio Philip | June 16th 2013
By Philip Mwakio
MOMBASA, KENYA: Stakeholders in the multi-billion dollar tourism sector at the Coast have cast aspersions on budgetary allocations to the Ministry of East African Community, Commerce and Tourism. They argue the Sh5.9 billion earmarked for the expanded ministry is inadequate to promote tourism.
The chairman of the Mombasa and Coast Tourist Association said the Sh5.9 billion allocation was inadequate considering the new ministry shelters three others in the former regime. He spoke moments after Treasury Cabinet Secretary, Mr Henry Rotich read the National Budget.
“We have now to share with EAC and Commerce. Our sole prayer is that tourism be given priority as it is the goose that lays the golden egg. This seemingly gives us a ray of hope though,’’ Hersi who is also the Sarova Coast Regional General Manager said. The Kenya Association of Hotelkeepers and Caterers, Coast branch Executive Officer, Sam Ikwaye said the allocation was below their expectations. “Tourism has for long been neglected despite its superb performance over the years. We have been put in a pool together with EAC and Commerce knowing EAC is relatively new and requires very huge budget to be operational,’’ he said.
Ikwaye is however confident that the new devolved system of governance will spur the sector. “It is our hope that a fall back plan will see County governments in tourism circuit areas play a pivotal role by supplementing what the Central Government has offered the sector,’’ Ikwaye said. He added that County governments in tourist circuits such as Taita Taveta, Mombasa, Lamu, Kwale, Kilifi and Maasai Mara should allocate more resources to tourism upgrade and marketing.
“We are however happy with other allocations in key support avenues like agriculture for food security, infrastructure whose growth goes hand in hand with ensuring a vibrant and attractive destination,’’ Ikwaye said.
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