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Govt allocates Sh11.3bn to tourism as sector thirsts for recovery

NAIROBI, Kenya, June 11-The National Treasury has allocated Sh11.3 billion to the tourism sector in what could help the sector bounce back to profitability owing to the coronavirus outbreak in Kenya.

While unpacking the country’s spending plan for financial year 2020/2021 Treasury Cabinet secretary Ukur Yatani announced that Sh2billion of the monies will be shared in community reserves to jump-start the tourism sector and protect its players from heavy financial losses.

“Government will also provide grants to 160 communities and support to Kenya wildlife services to engage 5,500 community scouts for a period of one year, to support I propose to set aside Sh2 billion,” Yatani said.

He added that Sh3billion has already been set aside to be used in the renovation of the sites which will pave way for local meetings and visits within the region.

“The government will scale up the efforts to scale up the tourism sector by promoting aggressive post-COVID-19 tourism marketing and providing support for hotel refurbishment through soft loans to be channeled towards the tourism finance corporations.Sh3 billion has been set aside to support the renovation of facilities and the restructuring of business operations by actors in this industry,” he added.

The monies will also be shared with the Tourism Promotion Fund and Tourism Fund at Sh2.5 and Sh3.8 billion respectively.

In efforts to also support the sector that has been hard hit by the coronavirus disease, the government has also waived landing and parking fees at the airports in order to facilitate movement in and out of Kenya.

The allocation to the sector tops up to the Sh500 million that the government set aside earlier this year to market Kenya’s tourism destinations to ensure Kenya remains a preferred travel destination globally.

Last year, tourism sector earnings were up by 4 percent in 2019 to stand at Sh163 billion compared to the Sh157. 4 billion recorded in 2018.

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The industry players are currently projecting losses worth millions for the financial year 2020/2021 due to the travel restrictions adopted globally that saw airlines grounded and some hotels faced closure sending staffers home on unpaid leave.

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