NAIROBI: The Government’s decision to release Sh5.2 billion towards tourism recovery efforts has received support from industry players who urged for an all-inclusive approach to how the funds will be utilised.
Kenya Coast Tourist Association (KCTA) Chairman Mohamed Hersi, while commending the Government for making the funds available, insisted 80 per cent of the monies allocated be utilised for direct promotions.
“The Kenyan Tourism Board (KTB) had laid out very elaborate activities aimed at reviving the industry. Let the funds be used for revival and not administrative purposes,” Mr Hersi said.
Kwale Tourism, ICT and Investments Executive Adan Sheikh said the money released by the State should be used up to the last cent on its intended purpose.
“The industry is still far from recovery after two uncertain years. It will only achieve its desired results if the funds are put to proper use,” Sheikh told The Standard. East African Affairs, Commerce and Tourism Cabinet Secretary Phylis Kandie gave an undertaking that every penny will be accounted for .
In Nairobi, Panari Hotel’s Managing director Patrick Marekia, while terming the disbursement a wonderful gesture by the State to salvage the dwindling fortunes of the tourism industry, said tourism marketing is very expensive.
“Compared to other competing African destinations like South Africa and Egpyt, Kenya’s marketing kitty has been too little over the years,” Marekia, a veteran hotelier with over four decades’ experience said.
He said with the funds now made available, the move to market will enhance the possibility to increase tourist numbers to destination Kenya. “Tourism needs aggressive marketing and good PR in key source markets and for this to happen, adequate funds are needed,” Marekia explained .
Kenya Association of Hotelkeepers and Caterers (Kahc) Coast branch Vice Chairman Silas Kiti said the release of the funds was a clear manifestation by the Government that it was committed to rescuing the ailing tourism sector from total collapse.
“We urge for inclusiveness in this exercise to revive and reposition Kenya as a leading tourism hot spot,” Kiti who is also the General Manager of Kenya Safari Lodges & Hotels (KSLH) said.
Sai Roc Hotel (Mombasa) General Manager Robert Kiri said with the money available, efforts should be directed towards full recovery by going full blast on marketing in both existing and emerging tourist markets.
National Domestic Tourism Association Chairperson Anastancia Wakesho called on the Tourism CS to ensure stakeholders are involved and kept abreast of progress on recovery.