, NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 19 – “If you had a bucket list of the 47 counties, how many would you confidently say you have visited as a tourist,” Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) Managing Director Muriithi Ndegwa throws a challenge to Kenyans.
“Before your life in this world expires, please make a point of visiting at least all the lovely counties; even if it is not twice, at least once.”
On his part he says, he has managed to tour 43 counties so far as a tourist.
His challenge is in relation to the holiday incentives announced by President Uhuru Kenyatta in May last year which encouraged private firms to offer free holidays to their employees in exchange of tax reliefs.
This was one of the government’s measures to encourage domestic tourism as well as salvage the sector which has been adversely affected by insecurity challenges especially at the coast region.
The government plan was to have at least 25,000 Kenyans get a chance to go for a week’s holiday every month with the aim of bringing to a total of over 300,000 additional Kenyan guests in local hotels across the country.
However, KTB boss admits that despite the move, the uptake has been slow either due to lack of enough awareness about the package or complexity surrounding its implementation.
”My take is that things sometimes go on a gradual basis because you don’t expect that something is introduced today and immediately it takes effect. But the in the comments we are getting from the industry players, some hoteliers that have enjoyed that benefit,” Ndegwa says during an interview with Capital FM Business.
Based on this challenge, the newly formed Tourism Recovery Strategy Committee now plans to hold forums with corporate heads to only demystify the issue but convince them to encourage their employees to take advantage of it.
“Our appeal to Kenyans is please, take advantage of this because this is supposed to be collaboration between the individual and the corporate. The corporate then makes the tax returns and they take that as a relief,” Ndegwa who is also a member of the recovery committee said.
“Soon we are also going to be having a forum with the CEOs of the major corporations so that we can explain working modalities of this package by even doing visitations to different corporations so that we are spreading the message far and wide,” he said.
Meanwhile, in efforts to continue attracting more foreign tourists, KTB is expected to host the fourth edition of the Magical Kenya Travel Expo next month which will see a participation of more than 30 countries from across the globe.
The expo will see over 170 foreign tourism product buyers attend the expo and interact with 100 local exhibitors expected to showcase their products during the event in Nairobi.
The visitors will also be taken round the country to see various sites which has not been in the previous expos.