Sh10bn fund to be launched for hotels revamp

Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala says the fund will enable investors obtain credit more easily to give their facilities a facelift/FILE

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 31 – The government is in talks with the African Development Bank to establish a Sh10 billion refurbishment fund that will help in refurnishing old hotels.

Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala says the fund will enable investors obtain credit more easily to give their facilities a facelift.

Speaking during the Tourism Summit in Mombasa on Wednesday, Balala says the credit will be available for old facilities only at 6 percent interest rate.

“In the next few weeks, we will make the announcement, the older you are, the more you are entitled to approach this fund, so that it can be able to help you… we are not going to fund new hotels with this fund,” he said.

This is part of the transformation of the tourism sector in a bid get it back on a recovery path that will include new product development.

“The hotels at the coast region they have been built and planned well and the beaches are appropriate but now they are old and tired. I appreciate the investors and the people who own hotels here because of volatility of the sector, you are scared to invest or whenever you invest the returns are not appropriate,” he added.

He highlighted infrastructure as the major contributor to better tourism performance.

Other infrastructure plans for the tourism sector include the construction of a convention centre at the 80 acre piece of land at the Bomas of Kenya through Private-Public Partnership.

The Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC) is also set for refurbishment with an extension of another Tsavo Room to be built near COMESA grounds so as there are more meeting rooms to be held at the KICC.

“We want to create opportunities of restaurants, cafes and bars so as to make the Central Business Districts to be more active and not a dead CBD,” he added.

In the latest economic report from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics the tourism sector appears to be recovering as it was the most improved sector growing by 12.1 percent in the first quarter of 2016.

In the period under review the number of tourist arrivals at major airports increased from 231,038 in the first quarter of 2015 to 261,404 in the quarter under review attributable to mitigation measures that were instituted to boost tourist arrivals.

KENNEDY KANGETHE :Kennedy is a Bachelor of Arts in Communication graduate from St. Paul's University and has been writing for the Capital FM Business Desk since 2013, Besides business news, he enjoys traveling, public speaking and singing