Mombasa & Coast Tourist Association (MCTA) promotes inbound and domestic tourism to the Kenya coast region, and holds that tourism is a major force for the coast regions economic and social development via expansion of foreign exchange earnings, gross domestic product and employment.
TUESDAY, 9 OCTOBER 2012
Tourism Industry Stakeholders Warn of Impeding Job Losses in the Tourism and Hospitality industry
Mombasa and Coast TouristAssociation (MCTA)CEO Millicent Odhiambo has warned that if insecurity in coast province persists, it will not only end up hurting the image of the coast as the premier tourist destination in Kenya but also lead to job losses. According to the MCTA boss, a vast majority of night clubs, bars and other entertainment spots in Mombasa have been hardest hit by insecurity. Very few individuals now patronize these joints for fear of repeat attacks. This is much so after the attacks that were carried out in bars a few months ago in various regions across the coast province. The MCTA boss allayed fears that jobs will be lost while suppliers of goods as well as farmers will find themselves with no market for their goods. As a result individuals will find themselves jobless and poverty levels will soar. Consequently, crime will also increase and the economy of the Coast region will crumble because it heavily relies on tourism. It is not only the economy of the region that will get hurt, the country’s forex will also decline because tourism is one of the country’s top revenue earners.
Millicent Odhiambo called upon the residents of the region to volunteer information to the police when and if they came across individuals hell-bent on causing chaos and perpetuating xenophobia. The MCTA boss also appealed to the police to work in cahoots with the residents in an effort to root out cases of insecurity. The Tourist police-a brainchild of MCTA– should ensure that tourists are safe whenever they are within the coast region.
Adding his voice to this debate was Kenya Association of Hotelkeepers and Caterers (KAHC) coast chapter executive officer Sam Ikwaye, who opined that a large number of international as well as domestic tourists coming to the coast had dropped because these potential holiday makers were not sure that they would be safe in the coast region despite the heavy police presence. Hotels were also witnessing low bookings as a result of the violence in Tana coupled with fears of what the secessionist MRC would do next. He also urged the government to handle this matter once and for all lest the hotels and other tourist related are forced to lay off workers.
Also adding his voice to this debate was James Mureu, the Kenya National Chamber of CommerceMombasa branch who said that a vast majority of investors were worried that their investments would be looted come the 2013 polls like happened during the violence that rocked the coast region in August and which led to loss of property of unquantifiable proportions. He appealed to politicians to stop inciting and issuing inflammatory statements that could fuel the violence. He said that those who issue these statements should have punitive action issued on them to serve as an example to like-minded politicians. Mzalendo Kibunjia, are you listening?