, NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 27 – Funding infrastructure and marketing in the tourism sector must be increased to help continue attracting new visitors to the country.
Tourism Minister Danson Mwazo says he will lobby the government to increase the budget for infrastructure development to spur the growth of the sector.
“If you go to the Maasai Mara, it is a challenge driving through. Infrastructure in terms of roads is something we have to work together with other stakeholders to improve. Tourism is basically marketing. If we cannot market our product then you will not be able to get consumers to sample your products,” Mwazo said.
The minister spoke when he took over the Tourism docket from Najib Balala who was dropped from the Cabinet on Monday in a reshuffle.
Balala said that a committee tasked to implement the Tourism Bill was set to complete its work in June.
“The most important achievement we have done in terms of policy is the Tourism Bill of 2011. Since 1969, Kenya never had a single policy or an Act of Parliament. My last duty was to form an inter-ministerial taskforce to start preparing the country and industry and hopefully by the 1st of July, the Act will be fully operational,” Balala said.
Balala leaves the Tourism docket after being appointed to head the sector after the 2008 post election violence which has seen tourist arrivals increase to two million at the end of 2011 from 670,000 at the end of 2009, and also saw the sector earn Sh98 billion last year.