, NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 2 – Barely a week after President Uhuru Kenyatta appointed Najib Balala as Cabinet Secretary to the tourism ministry he has already pulled up his sleeves ready to work.
The morning after he was appointed to the now stand alone ministry Balala was already in the office to takeover, promising that 2016 will be the year of recovery.
The tourism sector which is the second largest earner of foreign direct investment to the economy suffered a big blow owing to terror attacks by the Al Shabaab militia.
According to Balala his area of focus will be in security, product development and marketing.
“In the next weeks I want to review and take stock on the whole sector to see what works and what doesn’t,” Balala told Tourism private sector on Tuesday night.
Among the projects Balala wants to review include the Marketing strategy, the tourism recovery report as well as how the Sh5.2 billion that was given to the ministry for recovery has been used so far.
He also says strategy needs to be changed in a bid to get different results.
“We can’t do the same thing, and expect different results, it’s not going to be easy we need to work as a team,” he added
Balala is said to have brought back the tourism sector on its feet after the post election violence.
In 2008 visitor arrivals dropped to 1.2 million from 1.7 million in 2007, through Balala’s leadership the number went up to 1.8 million in 2011.
“I am glad to be back home, I’m meeting with all the industry stakeholders so as we can deliberate on short term goals that need immediate attention,” he added.
The number of visitors to Kenya fell by 25 per cent in the first five months of 2015, according to tourism board figures.
Visitor numbers fell to 284,313 from 381,278 in January to May 2014, a drop of 25.4 per cent, according to Kenya Tourism Board figures.
Kenya Association of Hotel Keepers and Caterers Chief Executive Mike Macharia expressed his gratitude towards the President for giving tourism its own ministry.
He however urged the president to also give the wildlife sector under the tourism ministry that is c