, NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 18 – Tourism Cabinet Secretary Phyllis Kandie has pledged to have board members of all tourism parastatals appointed before the year ends.
Kandie says the move which she termed as a ‘Christmas present’ for the sector, is in line with the Tourism Act and will help hasten implementation of the tourism plans going forward.
“We were earlier not able to implement the Tourism Act the way it was and we consulted with the sector stakeholders and built consensus that we needed to do amendments. It has gone through Parliament and assented by the President. So we can now appoint board members,” Kandie said.
At the moment there is no single tourism body with a board of directors which she says limits growth in the sector.
“In fact I have been in the office all through because I really want to deliver this. So I am really looking forward to having these boards and we are working very hard,” Kandie assured.
The CS who was speaking during a meeting with the Tourism Recovery Committee said having board members will also help implementation of the committee’s report to be unveiled early next year.
“There has been Kenya Tourism Board, Kenya Tourism Development Board and others. These are the boards we are talking about, nothing new. But they have no sitting board members and this is what needs to be implemented,” Tourism Recovery Committee chair Lucy Karume said.
Other tourism parastatals include the Catering and Tourism Development Levy Trustee, Kenyatta International Convention Centre, Kenya Utalii College, Bomas of Kenya, Tourism Trust Fund and Kenya Safari Lodges and Hotels.
Karume said her team has already completed the draft report and hopes to be presented to the President next year to guide the ministry and all tourism stakeholders in reviving the sector which has been hardly hit the insecurity challenges.
She maintains that having sitting board members was one of the key success to smooth execution of the report, which may take three to five years.
“From the time we came to this particular ministry, none of the boards have had members. So a lot of work has been held under the ministry and that is too much work for them to handle. So it is something we have been waiting for, for a long time,” Karume said.
Meanwhile, Karume says even as the team concludes preparing the final report, the sector is upbeat after reports of high booking at the coast this festive season from the hotels.
Following a drop in international tourist arrivals, she says the domestic tourists will contribute the highest number of bookings especially at the coast.
“Mombasa? I am looking at 60 to 70 percent booking for the Christmas – New Year period. And for an industry which has been seating on 17 to 20 percent, seventy percent is not bad,” Karume said with optimism.