, NAIROBI, Kenya Jan 24 – “In the past, many of us were used to rushing to holiday destinations such as Mombasa, now places like Naivasha have evolved and become attractive.”
“My advice is for County Governors is to reap from the tourism industry. Start with hotels to attract Kenyans to your counties,” said Kenya Association of Tour Operators (KATO) Chairman Adam Jillo as he urged county officials to put in place frameworks to make their counties potential tourist destinations.
Jillo further advised that the county tourism is a means to not only boost the sector but to also generate revenue and attract investors.
Addressing the media on Friday, Kenya Tourism Board Managing Director Muriithi Ndegwa added that a facelift to the currently strained sector is achievable if Kenyans themselves engage in domestic tourism.
“There has been a great improvement in terms of the total composition of domestic tourists as opposed to the international ones.”
“To that effect we have been coming up with programmes through the different media that we have and even websites that give incentives from the domestic market to locals looking to travel within the country,” said Ndegwa.
Also addressed during the briefing were plans to open the skies thus allowing more airlines into the country as a means of marketing the country as a choice destination. (Opening the skies how?)
On Thursday the East African Affairs, Commerce and Tourism Cabinet Secretary Phyllis Kandie formed a Consultative Tourism Recovery Strategy Committee to examine the challenges facing Kenya’s tourism industry.
One of the major issues to be addressed by the nine-member committee is insecurity which she said has in the recent past posed a threat to the industry.
Insecurity has resulted in low occupancy statistics, a reduction in charter flights into Mombasa, key exit survey findings and concerned stakeholders, who have given voice to their concerns at various fora.
In pursuit of this, the new committee is expected to propose strategies on the way forward for the industry, guided by the ministry’s strategic plan and tourism master plan.
The committee members include; the Chairperson Kenya Tourism Federation, Lucy Karume, Kenya Association of Hotel Keepers and Caterers Chairman Jaideep S. Vohra, Chairman of Kenya Association of Tour Operators Adam Jillo and Kenya Tourism Board Managing Director Muriithi Ndegwa.
Others are Chris Modigell who will represent South Coast Stakeholders, Roberto Marini representing Malindi Stakeholders, Philemon Mwavala to represent Watamu Stakeholders. Others are Nairobi lawyers Donald Kipkorir and Cecil Miller who will represent non-tourism stakeholders.