, NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 8 – Acting President William Ruto has appealed to countries that still maintain travel advisories against Kenya to lift them as the government has put in place elaborate measures to address insecurity in all sectors, including tourism.
He said that such advisories were unnecessary and only served to hurt the tourism industry.
“The recent unfortunate insecurity incidents reported in select areas across the country that led to the drop in tourist numbers as a result of negative travel advisories has been considerably been dealt with,” he said.
The Acting President spoke when he officially opened the 4th edition of Magical Kenya travel expo at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre (KICC).
The three day event has attracted the presence of more than 170 travel, trade and media representatives from over 30 countries across the globe.
Ruto at the same time lauded a recent move by the UK government to revise travel advisories to Nairobi.
“Indeed the recent revision of travel advisories by the UK government is a shot in the arm on our efforts to addressing the insecurity challenges” said the Acting President. He stated that the huge turnout to this year’s travel expo is a demonstration of the confidence on Kenya as a tourism destination of choice at the backdrop of the recent insecurity challenges.
He noted that government has put in place numerous measures to stabilize the tourism sector which is one of the economic pillars of Vision 2030.
“Tourism remains a key sector of our economy as it generates around 11 percent of our Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and accounts for about 9 percent of our total formal employment,” he said.
He added that Kenya as a cradle of mankind is a unique tourist destination of choice with an outstanding landscape, flora and fauna.
”As a destination, we have continued to prove our competitiveness in terms of product and service offering,” he said.
At the same the Acting President lauded the Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) for emerging as the Best Tourist Board in Africa for the third time running.
The Acting President pointed out that the Ministry of tourism has laid down a number of strategies to put the industry back on track; key among them being the formation of the Tourism Recovery Committee which will come up with the possible options of growing the sector.
He also noted that a national crisis committee drawing its membership from both the government and private sector has been formed to ensure the establishment of a tourism safety, security and crisis communication centre through which tourist-related information will be collated and packaged and shared among all industry players.
The Acting President was categorical that Jomo Kenyatta International airport is undergoing a major expansion program which will modernise it, ease access and enhance its ability to receive more visitors.
Ruto explained that Terminal 4 at JKIA, which has seven boarding bridges will double JKIA’s annual passenger capacity, besides having 50 international and 10 domestic check-in points to ease congestion.
At the same time, the Acting President said that every effort was being made to address the poaching menace that threatens the future of wildlife in the country.
“We have put in more resources to combat poaching and have embraced technology to monitor wildlife populations especially those of endangered species,” he said.
The Cabinet Secretary for East African Affairs, Commerce and Tourism Phyllis Kandie said that representation from the UN World Tourism Organisation at the event (UNWTO) was an endorsement that Kenya was among the best tourism destinations in the world.