Kenya dangles carrot to tourists

March 15, 2009 12:00 am

, BERLIN, Germany, Mar 15-The government on Sunday offered a 50 percent cut in visa fees for tourists coming to Kenya beginning April through to December this year.

Visa fees for children less than 16 years visiting the country as tourists were also scrapped in a move aimed at stimulating demand for family travel.

“With the above stimulus package among other measures, we expect that tourism will grow at between 10 – 15 percent in 2009 despite the global financial crisis,” Tourism Minister Najib Balala said at the International Tourism Bourse (ITB) in Berlin, Germany.

Recently, the government gave an extra budgetary allocation of Sh250 million to the Kenya Tourist Board for enhanced marketing efforts.

Earlier, at the ITB, the Minister and his South African counterpart Marthinus Van Schalkwyk agreed to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) where Kenya would begin taking part in the INDABA Trade fair, which is the largest tourism fair on the African continent held in South Africa.

The MOU would be signed by end of May this year in Nairobi.

The Minister is leading a Kenyan delegation to the ITB where there are 26 industry players that include hoteliers as well as tour and travel operators.

ITB is the biggest tourism trade show in the world with about 180,000 participants.

Kenya’s participation in this tourism expo was aimed at cementing trade relationships, establishing international business contacts, reviewing old acquaintances and identifying possible areas of co-operation in the tourism industry.

Mr Balala also held consultation with the management of Condor Airline, Germans largest charter airline currently operating three weekly flights to Kenya. The other meeting was with TUI AG, the world’s largest tourism group.

The talks centered on Kenyan tourism products especially luxury travel and the need to keep improving the tourism products in Kenya as a way of ensuring steady growth of tourism.

Those accompanying the Minister included KTB Chairman, Jake Grieves-Cook and Acting Managing Director Maryanne Ndegwa.


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