NEW TOURISM SECRETARY ANNOUNCES 10 POINT PLAN TOWARDS RECOVERY
‘I have come up with a ten point plant highlighting the areas that we shall prioritise going forward. These include streamlining the boards of State corporations in tourism, hastening the implementation of the Tourism Act and setting up a tourism market recovery programme to recover Kenya’s lost market share in tourism. The national tourism strategy is at the moment being crafted and will be in place in the next few months’ was Mrs. Phyllis Kandie, the new Cabinet Secretary for East African Affairs, Commerce and Tourism, previously known as Minister, quoted to have told a meeting of tourism stakeholders, who were anxious to hear what government had in store to revive the flagging fortunes of the country’s tourism sector. Former tourism minister Mwazo, now openly described as the worst in Kenya’s history, had like a bull in a china shop caused havoc and left the sector’s political administration in the proverbial tatters, before making his escape to a senatorial seat in the last elections.
Of key interest for the sector were, as recently mentioned in a related development, infrastructure developments like the completion of a road between Narok and the Masai Mara Game Reserve, the bypass from the Nairobi – Mombasa highway and the Moi International Airport to the south coast and, as one source put it: ‘… to get us the funding KTB needs to run a recovery marketing campaign across the world. Last year Mwazo just make empty promises on which he failed to deliver and you see where we now are. The man was just incompetent and good riddance is all I can say. If he had delivered on his promises to get tourism the funding required we would be better off and now we have to clean out after him. Well, the new boss in tourism has shown she got the message and we will now wait and see how she delivers on her 10 point plan’.
Keenly awaited now are the upcoming announcements on who will chair the boards of several new parastatals which were created under the tourism act, although there are already whispers emerging from within key stakeholders that perhaps the formation of a single tourism authority would serve the sector better than a fragmented regime of several bodies, which could well lead to sectoral infighting over turf claims instead of all pulling into one direction. ‘The creation of many parastatals was a result of the grand coalition of the last government needing to create a lot of jobs for cronies. Now that we have a single government again, maybe we should revisit some of those issues and seek a better way forward. Tourism authorities are working well in other countries like Zimbabwe, and from what I know Tanzania is looking at creating one too. Right now we have a situation of many chiefs. The recurrent expenditure will be high and eat into the marketing budget. It is something we need to improve upon’ added the same source, setting the scenario for what will be an interesting year ahead for Kenya’s tourism industry. Watch this space for regular updates on what’s on in tourism from across the region.