KENYA TOURISM BOARD ASKS NEW GOVERNMENT FOR AN EXTRA 500 MILLION SHILLINGS
Sources in Nairobi have confirmed that KTB is seeking an additional 500 million Kenya Shillings to fund a series of ‘recovery missions’ aimed to restore market confidence, now that the elections are over and a new government will be coming into effect following the swearing in of President Elect Uhuru Kenyatta on the 09th of April.
‘The President Elect was at one time Chairman of KTB’ said the source in a mail communication overnight before adding ‘He will remember our struggle after the last election to get Kenya tourism back on track. He will also know that in 2011 we set new revenue and arrival records. Had it not been for the issues with the Somali militants in 2012 we could have done better but for this year we had a very slow start. We missed out on the high season period until Easter and to make up we have to go out and promote Kenya. We can take a lot from the formula used in 2008/9. Our emerging and new markets are doing good so far but for some of those places we need more flights. What is important now is to also work the traditional markets in Europe and America. Those should come back to previous levels and our new markets can grow alongside. That is a recipe for a lot more visitors and a lot more revenue. But that is not all. The former tourism minister let a lot of things slide. We need boards for the tourism parastatals, we need money from treasury for KTDC to provide affordable loans for refurbishments and modernization of hotels and resorts. And we hope for a good tourism minister like we had with Hon. Balala’.
Thankfully KTB has the capacity to react swiftly once the funds have been approved and released to them and hit the markets with major campaigns, the private sector and notably Kenya Airways as national airline of course fully on board. Some coast hoteliers though have equally warned of complacency and asked their colleagues to ensure product innovations, upgrades and expansion should now be the strategy the coast region must go in order to get a larger share of the global beach holiday segment, which in past years has shown a mixed performance. Resorts like the Serena Mombasa, the Whitesands or the Leopard Beach, which invested in regular upgrades and innovations, led the pack while others suffered sharp drops in occupancies, often resulting in closure during the low season when their business dropped while the three named retained high occupancies as a result of their quality operations attracting significant business from within Kenya and the region alongside their international business. ‘KTB’s push to make new circuits in Western Kenya and into Northern Kenya more attractive will also bear results. The main parks like the Mara, Amboseli, Nakuru and Tsavo will continue to do good but if we are getting a lot more visitors then we must also create the capacity to host them. Nairobi is getting more hotel beds but on the safari circuit we have space to still grow, specially to those parks which are not so popular yet. Meru for instance could take more tourists, so can the Samburu area or Western Kenya. Sport tourism, conference tourism, those are growth areas we have to promote abroad and if KTB gets that money then they can be very effective’ said another source based in Nairobi. For sure, the neighbours of Kenya in the East African Community will be warily watching on what their colleagues at KTB will be scheming up, but should remember that a thriving Kenya has always drawn in a lot more business for them too, making a compelling case to work hand in hand rather than standing by in envy. Watch this space.