Parliamentary Departmental Committee for Finance, Planning and Trade says Kenya’s tourism sector has a potential to become the top foreign exchange earner if it was sufficiently funded.
The Committee vice chairman Nelson Ributhi Gaichuhie said competing destination such as Morocco and South Africa have given Kenya a stiff competition in tourism business owing to adequate resources allocated for tourism activities.
The MP who was accompanied by Stephen Kirwa also a committee member made the remarks yesterday at the ongoing 37th edition of the World Travel Market (WTM) exhibitions in London where about 40 Kenyan travel trades are showcasing their tourism products.
The Kenyan delegation is riding on the positives that Kenya has recorded in the recent past including key international events and high profile personalities that the country has hosted and that have positively projected the profile the destination.
The committee said it will help in lobbying for additional funds towards promotion of tourism business which they noted has picked up with the recent 17% growth from January to August compared to the same period last year.
“We are happy that Kenya is peaceful and our image globally has been projected positively. We thank the government for investing on security and other supportive areas such as infrastructure,” he said.
Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) Acting Chief Executive Officer Jacinta Nzioka said the UK market that has continued to top in terms of tourist arrivals to Kenya is expected to grow further with promotional and marketing campaigns spread across the market.
“The UK market remains one of Kenya’s top tourist source markets to Kenya. WTM is one of the platforms of showcasing Kenya’s destination and product diversification.
Our global campaigns and the renewed confidence on destination is expected to boost our numbers from the market” added Nzioka
Heritage Hotels Chief Executive Officer Mohammed Hersi lauded the government for reviewing conservation fees whose rates have been exempted from the 16% VAT effective 1st November.
The new rates will see premium Park fees being capped at 60 US dollars down from 70 US dollars. “This is a timely move in increasing interest for safari tours that is popular to tourists and placing the country as a leading safari destination,” said Hersi.
He said Kenya will receive more tourists from the market in the coming months if the positive enquiries in the exhibition are anything to go by.
“We are getting positive enquiries from the travel agents and we are certain that at the end of the show, we would have signed travel deals with the agents,” Hersi enthused.
He added that the prevailing peace in the country has given reassurance to visitors planning to visit Kenya.
Kenya was among the over 180 countries showcasing in a fair to discover and negotiate the latest travel industry trends and opinions at the WTM, one of the largest tourism fair in the world.