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Tourism industry unhappy with reduced allocation this year

By | June 12th 2009

By Philip Mwakio

Players in the tourism industry at the Coast were unhappy with Finance Uhuru Kenyatta for allocating Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) Sh400 million for marketing.

They said the country’s premier tourism marketer instead required at least Sh1billion to woo tourists.

The stakeholders demanded the Sh800 million allocated in Uhuru’s Budget yesterday to Kenya Tourist Development Corporation (KTDC) be made available to small hotels.

KTDC gives out loans to hotels to carry out soft refurbishments.

Mombasa and Coast Tourist Association (MCTA) board of trustees chairman Kuldip Sondhi termed the allocation as "too little".

"It is low. It should have been Sh1 billion and above to help Kenya recover from effects of the 2008 post-election violence and global economic crunch,’’ Sondhi, a Director with Reef Group of Hotels, said.

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And Kenya Association of Hotelkeepers and Caterers (KAHC) Coast branch Chairman Titus Kangangi, called for a supplementary budget to give the industry good funds.

"We as Kenya’s top foreign exchange earner need to lobby to have in place a supplementary budget which will ensure adequate funds to KTB,’’ Kangangi said.

Skal Kenya President Mohamed Hersi described the amount as a drop in the ocean.

"It is unfortunate tourism, despite being a pillar of the economy, is given very little attention when it comes to resource allocation,’’ Hersi, Sarova Coast Regional Manager, said.

New MCTA chairman John Cleave said there were concerns by industry players that a cut in marketing funds for Destination Kenya derailed efforts to resuscitate the industry.

"Effective overseas destination marketing would have enabled Kenya pick up from where we tumbled last year,’’ Mr Cleave said.

He said marketing ought to be a continuous process.

"It should not be an On/Off switch. It is practical that money spent on marketing Destination Kenya has high returns for our economy,’’ he added.

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