NAIROBI, October 16 – A Tourism Business Council comprising key stakeholders in the sector will be set up soon to advise the government on how to develop and sustain a vibrant and competitive industry in Kenya, Tourism Minister Najib Balala said on Thursday.
The Council, that will run as a tourism business think-tank will comprise of representatives from institutions that generate income from the industry through provision of goods and services.
Speaking during a workshop to finalise the newly developed Tourism Bill, Mr Balala challenged the local industry to adopt modern styles of doing business through innovation and creativity.
“You cannot run tourism the way it was done 20, 30 years ago,” the Minister said.
He said the formation of the Business Council was part of the government initiative to promote private – public sector partnership and provide an opportunity for the private sector and communities to participate actively in planning, decision making and implementation of sustainable tourism development.
Mr Balala added that tourism associations needed to be revamped and energised to embrace world class business culture if the sector was to compete with the rest of the world.
He said the government had shown unprecedented commitment to facilitate the growth of the tourism sector by providing additional financing and putting in place the necessary infrastructure and policy framework.
“The new supplementary allocation of Sh1 billion for marketing is a strong indictor of the government’s goodwill,” Mr Balala said.
He further said that the Tourism Bill and the Telecommunication Bill, which is on the second reading in Parliament, will be given priority by the House Business Committee.
“If enacted, the Telecommunication Bill, in particular, will facilitate the transaction of tourism business online which has been one of the major drawbacks in the development of tourism in Kenya,” said the Minister.
Mr Balala gave the working committee on the Tourism Bill one week to polish the draft in readiness for presentation to the Cabinet.
The two instruments will provide the policy and legal framework critical in addressing the current challenges facing the industry.