Balala seeks Cabinet help on online payments

September 1, 2008

, MOMBASA, September 1 – Tourism Minister Najib Balala has said that he will seek presidential intervention to get the E-payment Bill passed by Parliament.

Balala on Monday lamented that a travel and booking portal for the tourism industry in Kenya was long overdue, given that on average, 70 percent of tourists who visit Kenya check the destination on the internet.

“It is so sad that up to today, we do not have a payment portal. We are told it is about legal reforms in our ICT sector. I say it is rubbish because it is business we are loosing. If the parliamentary process takes so long, presidential decrees will take very fast,” he said.

Speaking in Mombasa, where he launched Galileo Kenya\’s travel and booking portal, Balala said he had prepared a Cabinet Paper tackling the laws that are stopping e-payment through the internet and which he would present to the Cabinet soon.

The e-tourism website has been constructed to help promote Kenya\’s tourism industry. It is a partnership between Galileo Franchise, a travel distribution company and Kenya Airways.

The website with the tag line, “All of Kenya in One Website,” will allow internet users to access a comprehensive range of travel services in Kenya, previously unavailable in one site or through one travel service provider.

Kenya Airways (KQ) Commercial Director Richard Nuttal said bookings were increasingly being done online.

“People now are increasingly doing bookings online. They want to browse destinations, look at the hotels, book airlines, see pictures of the tours they want to go on, do it online, see what looks attractive and they want to book there and then. That is something we need to be able to do,” Nuttal said. 

The website targets business to business, travel suppliers, agent and tour operator, and business to consumers.

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