MOMBASA, Kenya, Apr 24 – Prime Minister Raila Odinga has challenged the stakeholders in the tourism sector, to fast track the full implementation of the Tourism Act to facilitate growth.
He said the sector can only realize the projected returns when the policies were fully operational to create an enabling environment for tourism which still remains the second largest foreign earner in the country.
“When the Act and related tourism policies are fully in operation, our aim of three million tourists a year and projected earnings of about Sh200 billion annually should not be an impossible dream,” Odinga said.
The Premier however criticized the players in the sector for overindulging in old ways of promoting the industry and asked them to explore fresh avenues that could place the country among the leading tourist destinations in the world.
He regretted that sports tourism still remained unexploited despite the fact that the athletes from the country were revered for their prowess in long distance races.
The Premier who was on a three days tour at the coast told stakeholders during a Tourism Leadership Forum at a Mombasa hotel to diversify their catchment options arguing that nature based tourism was no longer predictable in the wake climate change.
He suggested that our cultural diversity could be harnessed and packaged as a tourism attraction apart from ongoing efforts to develop a free port at Dongo Kundu to woo business tourism that was thriving at the Dubai port.
Tourism Minister Danson Mwazo proposed a new approach to market the country as a destination and challenged the stakeholders to formulate innovative ways of promoting the trade amid fears that there was a decline in leisure tourism.
Others present were Assistant Ministers Manson Nyamweya, Cecily Mbarire, Deputy Speaker Farah Maalim, MPs Hassan Joho among other senior officials in the tourism sector.