Balala unhappy with Kenya marketing

August 26, 2009
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, NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 26 – The Ministry of Tourism says the participation of the private sector towards matching government efforts in marketing Kenya are below par.

Tourism Minister Najib Balala said on Wednesday, that the disconnect between government and the private sector was hampering Kenya’s marketing strategy and has urged the private sector to step up its efforts and push the government to ensure Kenya becomes a tourist destination of choice for all tourists.

“The private sector in tourism is slightly weaker in terms of capacity to respond to crises, information and market trends especially in competition,” said Mr Balala. “I believe if we have a stronger private sector the government performs better.”

He called for closer ties between the two groups if the country is to improve on the current situation.

“The private sector has worked with a lot of suspicion of government but I believe for the sake of putting the tourism sector right we need regular talks to iron out any issues that may exist.”

He was speaking while presiding over the handing over a Sh10 million cheque from the Tourism Trust Fund (TTF) to the Kenya Tourist Federation (KTF).

TTF Acting Chairperson Lucy Kambuni also called for more involvement from the private sector to ensure government efforts also thrive.

She challenged KTF to have better geographical reach to further boost tourism in the country.

”We expect that once the associations that form part of KTF grow, that the tentacles are going to spread to the grass roots to further boost tourism” she said.

She however challenged the organisation to come up with ways of financing its budget.
KTF vice chairman Adam Jillo said the money would be used to set up setting up a safety centre which he says will be the source of information of security in tourism industry.

“We are also going to use the money to boost capacity building of all our constituent organisations which are spread right through the country for greater geographic representation,” Mr Jillo said.

KTF is made up of organisations such as Kenya Tour Operators Association (KTOA), Kenya Association of Travel Agents (KATA), Mombasa and Coast Tourism Association (MCTA) among others.

Ms Kambuni also revealed that KTF would also be receiving support to set up a secretariat from the government. At the same time the minister said the current power rationing was a major deterrent of growth in the tourism sector.

He said power rationing coupled with high power bills was forcing the industry to restructure its development plans.

“Look at the power bills of hotels in the country, they are surpassing the payrolls. Anything that goes to that level has to serve as a red flag that something is not right somewhere.”

But Mr Balala said his ministry could not intervene on the issue, as it was a national emergency.

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