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July 19, 2013
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Sub-Saharan Africa: Kenya Tourism Aims for 3 Million Tourists by 2017


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Kenya’s Ministry of Tourism is putting strategies in place they hope will lead to significant growth in the tourism industry. 

Total arrivals in Kenya declined slightly in 2012 to 1,780,768 compared to 1,785,382 for 2011 (down 0.3 percent).  Estimated receipts from tourism in 2012 dropped 1.92 percent from 2011.  The decline was attributed to election fears and the European economic downturn.  Holiday travel remained the major reason for travelling to Kenya, accounting for 75 percent of all arrivals. Business arrivals stood at 8 percent and conference arrivals 3 percent.

Now, the Ministry of Tourism is putting in place new strategies aimed at taking Kenya’s tourism industry to greater heights.  

Cabinet Secretary for Tourism, Commerce and East Africa Affairs, Phyllis Kandie, recently outlined a ten point plan for the sector which she said will be prioritized to ensure growth in tourism.  She said the plan will ensure that the sector delivers three million tourist arrivals by 2017.

Support for the plan is expected to come from the highest levels of government.  President Uhuru Kenyatta, who was sworn in on April 9, is a former Chairman of the Kenya Tourism Board.  The government is reportedly increasing Kenyan Tourism Board’s marketing budget from 89 million rand to over 350 million rand.

At the top of the strategic agenda is the establishment of a tourism recovery program to help the industry to regain ground lost after the 2007 post-election violence.  Secretary Kandie noted that the country and the industry are still struggling with the effects of the elections, which led to market losses by the tourism sector.

She also said that she will be working with the Ministry of Infrastructure to improve roads leading to tourist’s sites.  She singled out the Narok Mara road which she said was in bad shape and needed quick attention and the Mombasa Airport –Diani road. 

Secretary Kandie also said she will strive to streamline the issue of parastatals boards as a matter of urgency to ensure normalcy returns to the various parastatals that have been operating without boards of directors. 

In addition, she will be working to ensure that a Tourism Crisis Response Committee is in place to help in responding to emergencies within the sector. The Committee will help deal with emergency issues that have been affecting the industry and require quick and immediate attention.

Other plans as highlighted by Secretary Kandie include the issue of rogue operators in the industry, The Implementation of the Tourism Act, the beach product and funding for the ministry of Tourism. 

Kenya has won several tourism awards in recent years.  In 2012, Kenya was voted as having the Africa’s leading Tourist Board by the World Travel Awards and was named the Best African Tourism Board in Africa award at the 2013 Safari Awards.


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