Travel agents fault State for ignoring sector

Kata Chairperson Shazim Manji-Karmali noted that travel agents alone contribute over 75 per cent of the passenger number bookings in the country. [David Gichuru, Standard]

The government has been accused of neglecting some players in the tourism sector.

The Kenya Association of Travel Agents (Kata) said the State does not fully appreciate its role in the economy, limiting its members' potential in helping the country become a leading business and leisure destination.

Kata Chairperson Shazim Manji-Karmali noted that travel agents alone contribute over 75 per cent of the passenger number bookings in the country. "The travel sector is enabling travel within Kenya and beyond. We are also the key facilitators of domestic travel, which is what kept hospitality growing post-Covid," said Ms Manji-Karmali.

"Moving forward within the next year, I envision that Kata would be more active in this conversation not only with the Ministry of Tourism but also with the Ministry of Transport, which governs the airlines that operate in the region with a view to forming working collaborations."

Tourism Cabinet Secretary Peninah Malonza defended the State over claims of neglecting the sub-sector, saying the ministry is well-apprised of the role travel agents play in the sector.

Ms Malonza said the State is willing to listen and partner with stakeholders on initiatives geared towards boosting the image of the country both locally and abroad.

"We need to leverage Kata operators in targeting our key source markets," said Ms Malonza.

She directed Kenya Tourism Board to look into creating incentives for those who aggressively market the country's signature experiences and unique propositions.

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