KATO to create 4 county tour operator hubs

August 31, 2015
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Speaking during the Kenya Tourism Federation (KTF) single tourist visa awareness programme in Kisumu, KATO Chief Executive Fred Kaigua says that the hubs will be in Kisumu, Nakuru, Nanyuki and Mombasa/FILE
Speaking during the Kenya Tourism Federation (KTF) single tourist visa awareness programme in Kisumu, KATO Chief Executive Fred Kaigua says that the hubs will be in Kisumu, Nakuru, Nanyuki and Mombasa/FILE
NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 31 – The Kenya Association of Tour Operation (KATO) has plans to create four major tour operation hubs in the country.

Speaking during the Kenya Tourism Federation (KTF) single tourist visa awareness programme in Kisumu, KATO Chief Executive Fred Kaigua says that the hubs will be in Kisumu, Nakuru, Nanyuki and Mombasa.

Kaigua explained that tour operations at the county level brought both challenges and opportunities pointing out that they cannot set up 47 tour operation branches citing that some counties have very few tour operators to sustain a branch.

“We have identified Kisumu hub to serve the western circuit, Nakuru to serve the entire Rift Valley, Nanyuki to serve the Mt Kenya region and Mombasa to serve the coastal region. The hubs will cover the major regions in the country before being devolved,” Kaigua said.

On his part, Kenya Association of Hotel Keepers and Caterers CEO Mike Macharia says devolution is a key agenda in tourism advocacy.

Macharia announced that already, six counties in the North Rift have agreed to work together as a regional tourism block.

KTF has embarked on a massive sensitisation and awareness campaign on the use of National Identification (NID) and the Single Tourism Visa (STV) for travel across the East Africa Community member countries.

This initiative follows a research report that was released in June that indicated limited and poor information availability on STV for travellers and immigration officials.

The survey which was commissioned by KTF in partnership with Trademark East Africa revealed that Information availability on the Single Tourist Visa and use of National showed a response range of between very poor to just average with only 25 percent of travellers and less than 15 percent of immigration officials rating the current information as good.

“It’s also of concern to us that the current STV processing procedure has been rated as very poor by travellers and therefore the need to review and advise on necessary improvement,” said Kenya Tourism Federation Ag CEO Susan Ongalo.

Regarding the use of National Identity Cards to cross borders, the report indicated there is low level awareness with a significant proportion of 17 percent or eight out of 48 of immigration officials not being aware on the use of National IDs.

The initiative is expected to ensure the three countries have a significant share of the registered 50 million tourists who visit the continent annually; as well as stir cross border economic and tourism growth.

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