, NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 1 – The government is focusing on growing domestic tourism to avoid huge losses when there is a drop in international tourist arrivals due to internal or global shocks.
Cabinet Secretary for East African Affairs, Commerce and Tourism Phyllis Kandie says domestic tourism will not only focus on Kenyan citizens, but tourists from the East African region.
“With the support of the recovery committee that I formed over two months ago, we are getting a lot of ideas on how we can really focus on the local tourists and try to recover the industry,” Kandie said.
The nine-member committee includes the Chairperson of the Kenya Tourism Federation Lucy Karume, KAHC Chairman Jaideep S. Vohra, KATO Chairman Adam Jillo and KTB chief Muriithi Ndegwa. READ Consolidate tourism marketing, Uhuru urges stakeholders
Others are Chris Modigell who will represent South Coast Stakeholders, Roberto Marini (Malindi) and Philemon Mwavala (Watamu). Nairobi lawyers Donald Kipkorir and Cecil Miller represent non-tourism stakeholders.
According to the Tourism Ministry, international tourist arrivals have in the last one year dropped by 7 percent from 925,000 arrivals to 860,000 due to insecurity cases.
On the other hand, growth in domestic market measured in bed nights increased from 2.65 million tourists to 3.12 million.
“This is our immediate plan and I believe we will achieve the goal of sustaining the growth of the tourism sector,” she said.
The government wants to also ride on the growing EAC integration by ensuring more regional citizens come to visit Kenya. This will include the use of National Identity cards as travel documents instead of passports, a project launched in January this year between Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda.
“We have plans to rebrand Kenya a move that will see the World view us as the best destination despite any kind of challenge, “she expressed her optimism.
Kandie’s sentiments come in the wake of numerous terrorists attacks with the latest being the Eastleigh blast on Monday night which left six people dead and 32 injured.
Kenya also plans to focus on emerging markets that Kenya is focusing is the Middle East, China and India.
Kandie was speaking during the ongoing Cabinet briefings at Harambee House on Tuesday aimed at informing Kenyans what various ministries have achieved in the last one year and their future focus.
Others at the media briefing were Cabinet Secretary for ICT Fred Matiang’i, Najib Balala of Mining (who chaired the session) Transport Principal Secretary Nduva Muli plus Energy and Petroleum Principal Secretary Joseph Njoroge.
Njoroge explained that apart from the ongoing addition of 5000 megawatts of power by 2017, the ministry plans to connect 5,000 primary schools to the national grid and 1,400 to solar systems.
He said the move will help the Education Ministry smoothly implement the laptop project.