, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 5 – The tourism sector is in a deficit of Sh200 million which is needed for it to participate effectively in the ongoing Milan Expo set to end in October.
Tourism Cabinet Secretary Phyllis Kandie said the ministry needs Sh400 million but only received Sh200 million from the exchequer mid last year that was set aside to facilitate the country’s participation in the expo.
“The money we received is what we are currently spending at the expo. However, we are hoping to get more support when the budget is read this month,” she said.
Kenya will use the global expo to re-assert itself as an ideal destination following recent challenges that have faced the tourism sector in the recent past.
The country joins 150 other countries that are participating in the expo which is receiving an estimated 180,000 visitors daily. The global expo, which is one of a kind, brings together nations from around the world to showcase the best of what they have to offer.
Kenya is not only selling its tourism destinations, but is also selling the country as an investment destination.
According to Kandie, Malindi and Watamu are places being promoted heavily in the expo as they are popular in the Italian market.
“Italy is among the resilient tourist source markets and we have to do all that we can to sustain, retain and even grow further,” she said.
Malindi and Watamu will also be promoted as ideal retirement places for the Italian market which has more disposable income.
The country is also showcasing its agriculture sector at the expo, promoting products such as flowers and nuts among others. Kenyan food is also being promoted.
The ministry will also hold meetings with airline stakeholders in Italy to lobby for the push of charter airlines to resume flights to Moi international Airport, Mombasa which had been withdrawn during the recent downturn of the sector.
Kandie also stated that the ministry will launch a sub-site in Italian on The Magical Kenya website which will assist in delivering information with ease to the Italian market.
The month of June was also launched as the designated Tourism Month at the Milan Expo.