Govt urged to consider tax exemptions for tourism players

January 8, 2019
Diani Reef Managing Director Bobby Kamani having a conversation with Tourism CS Najib Balala during the Kenya Association of Hotel Keepers and Caterers meeting held in Mombasa in 2018. Photo/COURTSEY.

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 8 – Private Sector in the tourism industry has called on the government consider Tax Exemptions for private sector players that can be used for reinvestment into the economy.

Diani Reef Beach Resort and Spa Managing Director Bobby Kamani says It should be made mandatory for all private sector players that whatever amount is saved by way of tax exemptions must be spent on refurbishment of existing products and up-gradation of existing services.

The sentiments come after President Uhuru Kenyatta called on players to invest further into their products by refurbishing and upgrading properties in a bid to sustain the gains realized in the sector.

Kenya has seen tremendous growth in the sector with tourism receipts growing by 31.26 percent to 157.3 billion shillings in 2018, international visitor arrivals growing by 37.33 percent to 2.02 million in 2018 and domestic bednights growing by 9.03 percent to 3.97 million in 2018.

“I congratulate the Ministry of Tourism and Wildlife, and stakeholders in the tourism sector for the growth achieved in 2018. I urge the Ministry and stakeholders to strive to drive this growth even further in 2019,” President Kenyatta said on Monday in Mombasa.

According to Kamani, private sector players have also contributed significantly towards the marketing of their products in local, regional and international markets besides creating more employment, directly and indirectly within the country.

Several international conferences were held in Kenya in the last year further instilling confidence in the country’s safety and capability of handling large conference delegations of international repute.

Among the conference include The Sustainable Blue Economy Conference, the International SKAL Congress and the Africa Hotel Investment Forum.

“A politically stable climate and an improved security status within the country throughout 2018 made Kenya a more attractive destination for international travelers (holiday makers and conference delegates alike,” he added.

Further, the visit of foreign dignitaries throughout 2018 also reinvigorated Brand Kenya on a global scale. Melania Trump, Theresa May, Barack Obama, Ellen Degeneres and several African Presidents were all visitors to Magical Kenya in 2018.

“The growth in the aviation sector further boosted confidence in the region with the launch of direct flights to New York by Kenya Airways and direct flights from Doha to Mombasa by Qatar Airways. The return of Air France to thrice weekly flights and the return of TUI Fly Charter Airlines to the Coast instilled renewed confidence in the tourism sector based on the efforts by stakeholders, the Government and Ministry of Tourism,” he noted.

Kamani also pointed out the Open Border Policies such as Visa on Arrival and the Single African Air Transport Market that has encouraged the free movement of people and of goods across borders.

Kenya has experienced profound beneficial impact from the same.

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