KENYAS TOURISM STAKEHOLDERS BLAME NEW MINISTER, PUBLIC EXPENDITURE FOR BUDGET CUTS
It is action which counts for us, not words and empty declarations. Maybe now people realize just how much damage the removal of our former minister has done to our sector. Balala was on course to fight for more marketing budget because he knew what 2008 did to the country. This is an upcoming election year and unless we go out to promote, everywhere and all the time, an already flat projection could turn into less, not more. The new minister needs to learn fast to fight for the sector how his predecessor did successfully for years and not blame the media and others like he did last week. Let him put the money where his mouth is, did he not talk about getting more billions and not lessan upset stakeholder from Nairobi wrote in an overnight mail to this correspondent after it had become public knowledge that the planned budget allocation for tourism marketing had been reduced, made worse in fact by inflationary trends since last year.
Other stakeholders blamed the reduction of funding on an ever more swollen public expenditure budget, which has its roots in the new constitution. New administrative and organizational structures are to be created after the next elections and the cost of it has seemingly burst all dams of spending, leaving the Kenyan taxpayers scratching their heads why in fact they did vote so overwhelmingly for the new constitution, only to find out now what the financial implications are. If any sector can come to the rescue of the treasury to fund all those new jobs and positions, it is tourism. But to achieve that we need more money, not less. The reduction does not look much but considering what inflation we had since last year, in real terms it is a 20 percent cut. It is the wrong move by our government because in an election year we need to increase our promotions, tell the world that Kenya is safe to visit and that we have new mechanisms now for elections to prevent fraud and stealing of results. If the allocation of fund for tourism marketing is not reviewed and revised upwards, we are in for a tough year on all fronts another stakeholder from Mombasa added, leaving no doubt that the tourism sector is getting ready to throw its combined weight behind demands for better facilitation in the 2012/13 financial year.
Former tourism minister Najib Balala had advocated to allocate at least 5 percent of tourism earnings to the purpose of promoting the country abroad, in existing core markets but also the new and emerging markets of the East, which would give tourism, considering the earnings last year stood at over 98 billion Kenya Shillings, almost 5 billion Kenya Shillings in funding, and could at last put the country at par with such continental tourism giants like Egypt or South Africa, the latter now enjoys almost 10 times as many tourist visitors compared to Kenya, inspite of the catch up the rainbow nation had to undergo since the end of the apartheid era.
Fodder for thought for the powers that be in Kenya and time for tourism to stand up, stand together and make their combined voices heard. Watch this space.
Archive for April 29th, 2012
KENYAS TOURISM STAKEHOLDERS BLAME NEW MINISTER, PUBLIC EXPENDITURE FOR BUDGET CUTS
(Impression of the new terminal building in Plaisance)
Information was received from Port Louis overnight about two key infrastructural projects, aimed to keep the island at the cutting edge for tourism and travel.
First was the announcement that a new harbour bridge was set to go ahead and that government has been in talks with residents affected by the project to compensate them and relocate them to new locations. The new bridge will be linking key traffic arteries and is hoped to decongest access to Port Louis when ready in a few years time, making access to the city for locals and tourists alike easier. The estimated 8 billion Mauritius Rupees project has been spearheaded, according to the source, by the Mauritius Port Authority and will be a public / private partnership.
At the same time it was also confirmed that the international airport at Plaisance is now expected to be ready by early 2013 according to information sent to the media by the Airports of Mauritius Company last Friday. Nearly 2.7 million passengers used the airport in 2011, an increase of about 3 percent over 2010 and remarkable considering the weakening economic situation in some of Mauritius key tourism source markets across Europe.
The information also confirmed that once the new terminal was in full operation, the existing terminal buildings and facilities would undergo refurbishment and upgrading to keep the entire airport in top form.
The Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport had earlier in the year again been voted by the World Travel Awards as the leading airport in the Indian Ocean, an accolade these added investments are sure to retain in coming years. With all these developments, if only now tourism promotion could begin to match the dynamism and forward vision other Vanilla Islands have rolled out in recent years. Watch this space.
(Picture courtesy of Wikipedias Kisumu City File)
Kenyas lakeside city of Kisumu will be playing host to a planned tourism and travel exhibition next week, organized by the Lake Victoria Tourism Association. Running from Thursday to Saturday inclusive, i.e. from May 03rd to 05th, the exhibition is aimed to promote domestic travel to Western Kenya and its rich cultural and natural attractions, while also hoping to have Nairobi and Mombasa based tour operators develop itineraries for foreign tourists to tour this less explored part of the country. The theme chosen for the exhibition, Come and Experience the glamour of the Western Kenya Tourism Circuit tells the story as the LVTA is partnering with others to promote Tembea Kenya to such lesser known parks as Ruma National Park now home to several rhinos which were relocated there a few months ago or the Saiwa Swamps, but also to the islands on Lake Victoria where several upmarket fishing and leisure camps await visitors. .
On board are the Kenya Tourist Board, the Kenya Wildlife Service, the Kenya Utalii College and the Kenyatta International Conference Centre and a number of private sector stakeholders, showcasing their properties and activities on offer.
With Kisumus airport now expanded and modernized, and a range of flights available from Nairobi on Kenya Airways and Jetlink, amongst others, the lake side city has the potential to draw in more visitors. The nearby Kogelo village, the ancestral home of US President Obama, has also been a hotspot for visitors from abroad, and the unfolding presidential election campaign in the United States will undoubtedly bring added attention to this part of Kenya once more, as his local and even international supporters will be visiting to see where Obamas roots in Africa truly spring from.
Said a regular source from Nairobi, who hails from Kakamega: Western Kenya has a lot of unexplored places. Flights to Kakamega, Eldoret and Kisumu have opened up new ways to bring visitors here. We have Mt. Elgon National Park in Kitale and nearby is the Saiwa Swamp National Park. In Kakamega we have a rainforest which is about 45 square kilometres in size and which is also a park now. In Kisumu there is easy access to Ndere Island and the Impala park and not too far away is the Ruma National Park. There are cultural sites some of which are national monuments. It is good that the tourism sector is now opening up new horizons in Kenya because we have a lot more to offer than just our beaches at the coast or the main national parks. And it is even a quick drive to Kericho to see the tea estates. Western Kenya has a lot to offer and I hope more Kenyans from other parts of the country come here to see what they have missed until now.
The Kenya Tourist Board has in the recent past paid added attention to opening up new tourism circuits, working hand in hand with Kenya Wildlife Service and the private sector, to popularize domestic travel and channel international visitors to new areas which were previously somewhat neglected in terms of exposure, promotion and facilities. Follow the #TembeaKenya hashtag on Twitter for regular updates or visit www.magicalkenya.com or www.kws.org to find out more about Western Kenya.