KTF LOSES UNWTO AFFILIATE STATUS
(Posted 14th June 2013)
Kenya’s tourism association apex body, the Kenya Tourism Federation, has lost their status as an UNWTO affiliate body, reportedly as a result of a back log of dues accrued over the past two years.
KTF is the tourism industry’s primary focal point for government, bringing together their key member associations like the Kenya Association of Hotel Keepers and Caterers, the Kenya Association of Tour Operators, the Kenya Association of Travel Agents and EcoTourism Kenya, among others, and as such hugely important for the constant dialogue between private sector and public sector. KTF also operates a coordination centre in cases of emergencies, to ensure that all relevant parties work hand in hand to ensure the safety and security of tourists visiting Kenya.
Even more painful for Kenya here is the fact that KTF’s membership on the board of directors for UNWTO’s affiliates is now also lost, robbing the country of an important presence on one of the World Tourism Organization’s organs. It is presently unclear if KTF will be able to attend the UNWTO’s General Meeting which is due to be held in August this year, hosted jointly by Zambia and Zimbabwe in both Victoria Falls and Livingstone, unless the arrears, reportedly over 4.000 Euros, will be cleared first and KTF’s membership be restored. Commented a regular source from Nairobi: ‘As usual you are right on the ball as things happen. Yes, we have been told that KTF’s membership in UNWTO as an affiliate has been suspended. As a sector, we have the duty to not just associate ourselves and have an apex tourism body to represent the interest of our membership, but also to facilitate the work of our association offices. Only last week was the CEO of KTF elected to the East African Business Council, representing tourism sector interests at the EAC in Arusha. Having influence on UNWTO level is very important. Former Minister Balala in fact was at one time elected to chair the UNWTO Executive Committee and now this. As a country we should have our public and private sector equally represented at the world stage. We are East Africa’s leading destination for tourists and as such cannot afford to miss out on the opportunities UNWTO membership for our apex body avails us. We will rally together and find the funds to bail out KTF and pay the arrears somehow’.
Having regularly interacted with KTF and their key personnel, a source for factual feedback on many issues relevant to the tourism industry in Kenya, it can only be hoped that fund can indeed be found fast so that the association can return to the big league table at UNWTO and represent not just Kenya’s but East Africa’s interests.