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Sh13b for tourism drop in the ocean, say players

By Philip Mwakio | June 12th 2020 at 00:00:00 GMT +0300

Players in the multi-billion-shilling tourism industry have expressed disappointment at the Sh12.8 billion allocations to the sector in this year's Budget.

Reacting to National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani's Budget speech yesterday, the stakeholders said they had expected more funding from the State in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. 

Sam Ikwaye, the Kenya Association of Hotelkeepers and Caterers (Kahc) Coast branch executive officer, said the allocation was too little to have any meaningful impact in the recovery efforts considering that the sector is one of the hardest hit by the virus.

''We had hoped that the government would at least give 50 per cent of total revenue realised from tourism last year to help jump-start it during these hard times as the whole world grapples with the pandemic," Ikwaye said.

He, however, said they are banking on the implementing institutions to absorb the allocated funds and make it accessible to investors to help turn round the sector.

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Jimi Kariuki, the Sarova Group of Hotels Managing Director, also expressed disappointment at this year's budgetary allocation, saying Treasury had overlooked the importance of the sector to the national economy.

''The tourism sector supports, among other sectors, agriculture, manufacturing, construction, transport, private security and banking. When tourism is down, so are all these other sectors,'' Kariuki said.

Last year, Kenya’s tourism earnings grew by 3.9 per cent to Sh163.6 billion as arrivals climbed above the two-million mark.

National Treasury Ukur Yatani Tourism
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