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Tourism CS projects MICE segment to propel sector growth by 20pc

Balala has also urged political leaders to refrain from remarks that could cause tension in the country and jeopardize the gains made in the sector/FILE

NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 14 – Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala says the sector will defy the election fever and grow by 20 percent this year up from the 17 percent growth in 2016.

Balala projects the growth will be driven by Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, and Exhibitions.

Currently, the Mara is on full board due to the wilderness migration while Diani is at 60 percent capacity.

However, the cities that include Mombasa and Nairobi are quiet owing to the elections.

The stakeholders claim protests and insecurity in the capital will negatively affect the numbers that were at 70 percent occupancy before the elections.

The sector has already recorded a 10 percent increase in the four months of 2017 with about 300,000 international arrivals, compared to 240,000 arrivals in 2016.

Balala has also urged political leaders to refrain from remarks that could cause tension in the country and jeopardize the gains made in the sector.

He says leaders should avoid denting the Kenya brand through negative remarks and activities at this time which is a high tourism season.

“Before the election, Nairobi had a capacity of 70 percent, but as it is now, Nairobi is quiet, bookings are quiet, as tourists adopt a wait and see mood in the high season,” Balala told a news conference.

The tourism sector, Balala adds, is sensitive to any instability or insecurity as the perception of insecurity and protests scares away visitors.

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This comes a day after Opposition leader Raila Odinga called on his supporters not to go to work as they await the way forward today.

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