, NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 17 – Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala has unveiled a Sh1.2billion Charter Incentive Program for Kenya aimed at reducing tourist costs and recovering lost business from tourist charter companies.
Balala indicated that the landing fees at Mombasa and Malindi Airports for charter airlines has been waived and further offered a $30 (Sh3099) per person charter flight subsidy for all charter flights landing at the coast with a minimum 80 percent manifest.
The CS indicated that the incentives will boost the tourism sector and help restore Kenya’s tourism crown.
“It will begin in January 2016 and last for 18 months until June 2018. It is an important incentive aimed at boosting and stimulating charter airlines to fly to the Kenyan coast. The $30 tourist subsidy will also begin in January,” he stated.
Balala explained that one of the challenges the country faces in stimulating the tourism recovery is the relatively high costs experienced by visitors.
“My intention is to lead from the front in declaring war on visitor costs. The government and industry stakeholders must work hand in hand to reduce visitor costs and attract tourists back to the Kenyan coast with a value for money product,” he said.
He indicated that the tourism industry depends on security, infrastructure and value products and pointed out that the government will be working from all angles to improve the sector.
“Whether Kenyan or from anywhere in the world, our holiday-makers want to be able to relax, they want a pleasant journey experience and they want products that suit every pocket,” he stated.
He also revealed plans to unveil a tourism strategy that will further boost the sector.
“Early in the New Year I will publish the Task Force Report on Tourism Recovery and unveil our tourism strategy going forward. Visitor numbers have still declined a little this year, but we can reverse that trend in 2016 with some simple productive actions,” he said.
“The world has shown great confidence in Kenya over 2015 with an array of global statesmen visiting our proud nation and I know that the cumulative effect of Obama, the Pope and WTO MC10 will trickle through to the tourism industry with some proactive efforts.”