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Tourism recovery on course, Balala says

NAIROBI, May 6 – The tourism ministry has received nearly half of the funding it requires to finance the tourism recovery process after the post election violence experienced in the country tarnished its image as a ‘safe haven’.

Tourism Minister Najib Balala said his ministry had received Sh650 million from the government and the European Union for the recovery program.

“We got Sh330 million from the European Union and Sh320 million from the government, which is good enough for a start,” he added.

Earlier indications were that the sector requires at least Sh1.5 billion to fund the process.

Balala said the ministry would use the funds to launch an international communication and marketing campaign in the next two weeks.

“The strategy is ready and in the next two weeks you will be seeing our adverts on CNN,” he revealed.

The Minister said part of the strategy involves consumer marketing in the United States (US) and Europe, among many other countries.

Balala noted that the government had been very receptive in its efforts to try and bring the sector back to where it was before the election period last year.

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Meanwhile Secretary General of the United Nations World Tourism Organization Francesco Frangialli is in Kenya to restore confidence in the country as a safe and prime tourist destination.

Speaking to the media, Frangialli pledged technical assistance towards the recovery process.

“We have experience in supporting destinations that have suffered problems in the past like victims of Sars, Tsunami and even victims of terrorism,” he said.

Frangialli added that the country was lucky, in that even though it suffered an image problem, its fundamentals are still right.

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