Minister a no-show at e-Tourism Conference
Kenya’s new Tourism Minister locks horns with media
(eTN) - In an unwarranted broadside against the media and their reporting, the recently-appointed new Tourism Minister of Kenya, Dan Mwazo, has done more harm than good to his cause to promote tourism, as he blamed flagging tourism fortunes on what he termed “irresponsible reporting and coverage of security matters.”
Said a regular source from the Kenyan coast, where the remarks were made at the re-opening of a hotel on Tiwi Beach: “Here, it goes to show how much we miss the skills of our former Minister, Najib Balala. When he had issues with the press, he did not blast them in public but invited them for tea to discuss issues one on one. He built alliances and [did] not open up rifts.
“When we last met in Nairobi for the e-Tourism Conference, you might remember he was supposed to have come to open the conference. Then he stayed away, and seeing what he said, now that he is in office for several weeks and surely was briefed by his staff, it is pathetic. In Nairobi, he had the chance to meet thewho is who in Kenya’s tourism private sector, but he thought that was not relevant.
“How can he say things like sports tourism has not been marketed by KTB [Kenya Tourist Board]? We have programs in place to promote golfing [and] visits to the Kenyan’ athletes training camps in Iten and elsewhere. Athletes from overseas now come here to do altitude training in Kenya, and our accomplished runners are helping KTB to put Kenya’s sports fame into promotional mileage for holidays and conferences.”
Regular media contacts from Kenya also took exception over the remarks made by the Minister, with one calling the outburst “ill informed and offensive,” not exactly good PR practice and very likely leaving KTB’s corporate communications staff scrambling to swiftly gloss over the faux pas by the Minister in order to maintain good relations with the media overall. Another one said, “I am personally not impressed, and this minister should get his act together before he does more damage to the industry than our reporting on certain issues allegedly does.”
This outburst is a market departure from the former Minister’s way to engage with the private sector and the media.