State lauded for efforts to reverse tourism fortunes

Traditional dancers entertain tourists disembarking from a cruise ship at the Port of Mombasa in January 2023. [Omondi Onyango, Standard]

Tourism stakeholders at the Kenyan Coast have lauded government efforts to revive the tourism sector.

Kenya Coast Tourist Association (KCTA) Chief Executive Julius Owino said the industry is on the mend after a prolonged downturn occasioned by the Covid-19 pandemic but more needs to be done for a complete turnaround.

“We only call for a holistic approach where the Tourism Cabinet Secretary Alfred Mutua would involve both the county and tourism stakeholders on how to strategically re-ignite tourism in various regions and counties,” Mr Owino said.

He said Kenyan tourism still faces unpredictable times, and it is only through collaboration that stakeholders can drive the industry forward.

Dr Mutua is spearheading a countrywide campaign dubbed “Utalii Fresh,” a strategic roadmap that seeks to uncover Kenya’s hidden tourism treasures and move the sector to the next level.

Speaking in Kwale County last week, the CS said his ministry is collaborating with the 47 devolved units to maximise their potential in marketing themselves as the preferred tourist destinations.

Access roads

Dr Mutua said the ministry is determined to revitalise the country’s tourism industry by investing in critical infrastructure like access roads, installing solar lighting along the beaches, and strategic marketing to attract high-spending tourists.

The CS was in Kwale County for the #UtaliiFresh county tours, which aim to explore potential collaborations and partnerships to ensure that counties benefit from tourism opportunities.

He noted that Kenya has a strong comparative advantage in the hospitality and tourism sector because of its diverse cultural heritage.

Dr Mutua termed the #UtaliiFresh campaign key in reviving sustainable and responsible tourism and repositioning it as a key sector in the national economy.

“All around the world, tourism plays an important role in the preservation and promotion of culture and heritage,” he said, adding that the ministry would make efforts to ensure heritage sites and monuments throughout the country are preserved.

The CS, who was accompanied by Kwale Governor Fatuma Achani, visited several sites that the county intends to develop into attractive tourist sites in Diani.

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