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‘Include professionals in regional tourism councils’

By Philip Mwakio | Jan 6th 2019 | 2 min read
By Philip Mwakio | January 6th 2019

Kenya Coast Tourist Association chairman Victor Shitakah. [Gideon Maundu, Standard]

Stakeholders in the tourism industry are pushing for the inclusion of professionals in the yet-to-be established regional tourism councils.

In an interview with Weekend Business, Kenya Coast Tourist Association (KCTA) Chairman Victor Shitakah lauded the initiative of coming up with the councils but urged that professionals with vast knowledge on tourism be mandated to run them.

He said the councils would play major roles in promotion of tourism since they are mostly domiciled at the grassroots.

“The councils will be actively involved in promoting tourism, ensure support infrastructure and services but also in managing the impact of tourism,” said Mr Shitakah, who is also the Coast regional manager for Pride Inn Group of Hotels.

He added that tourism is not only an important driver of economic development and employment, but also has impact on communities and the environment that need to be managed.

During the launch of an online tourism marketing portal for Kilifi County Government late last year, Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala said the regional councils would be established this month.

“We have held consultations with the Council of Governors (CoG) over the matter and effective January, we shall start unveiling the councils starting with the one for Coast region,” he said.

Others to be rolled out will include Nairobi, Western and Nyanza, Eastern and North Eastern and the Greater Rift Valley.

At the same time, Shitakah hailed President Uhuru Kenyatta and Mr Balala for their efforts to jump-start the industry’s fortunes.

“The Head of State has led from the front. He chose to spend both Christmas and New Year with us and even rode on the Madaraka Express train to come to Mombasa for a holiday,” Shitakah said.

“Balala on his part has been campaigning locally and abroad selling Brand Kenya destination."

International tourist arrivals for the first nine months of 2018 recorded a 7.8 per cent growth at 777,791 from 723,174 visitors in the same period last year.

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