, NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 25 – The newly appointed Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala plans to kick off his new duties by holding a series of meetings starting Monday next week.
The aim of the meetings will be to lay a clear strategy of how to implement the already set tourism recovery initiatives, starting January 2016.
Speaking when taking over the docket on Wednesday, Balala said that 2016 will be a restoration year for the tourism sector in the country.
“I will be in the office on Monday and I plan to have consultations with the officials of the Ministry of Tourism. On Tuesday I will want to meet all the parastatal chiefs and chairmen and on Wednesday I would want to meet the leadership of the private sector stakeholders,” Balala said.
The former Mining Cabinet Secretary takes over from Phyllis Kandie who has headed to lead the Labour Ministry.
“I must say that it has been a very challenging time. But I hand over today, in an atmosphere of confidence, as green shoots of recovery start to emerge,” noted Kandie, who will still handle the East Africa Affairs duties.
In the last three years, Tourism sector has suffered a lot largely attributed to insecurity challenges but according to Kandie things are now looking upbeat.
“We have secured the recovery fund from Treasury, created a new national brand to promote our image internationally and work tirelessly to get the travel advisories lifted,” she said.
And amid the excitement of the coming of Pope Francis in the country, Kenyans on Twitter spared their time for the new CS, with approval messages. Kenyans went on twitter with the hash tag #WhatBalalaShouldDo. Some of the tweets included,
@ConsumersKenya, #WhatBalalaShouldDo Promote consumer protection as a tourist attraction factor for Kenya; have hotels rated on consumer protection.
@sabasabavilla, There’s palpable optimism in the industry following Najib Balala’s appointment. #WhatBalalaShouldDo.
@eve_chege, #WhatBalalaShouldDo is to advocate for the #TembeaKenya campaign.. As Charity beings at Home.
@johnnjenga, Promote sustainable cheap affordable packages and turn every Kenyan into a domestic tourist = not relying on foreigners #WhatBalalaShouldDo.
@CaptWanderiCFE, #WhatBalalaShouldDo is relocate his office (s) to Mombasa/Coast or Maasai Mara where the real action is; he can attract some tourists too!