Nairobi — Kenya is next month expected to enter into a memorandum of understanding with South Africa aimed at building ties on tourism, a cabinet minister has said.
Tourism minister Najib Balala said he expects to receive South African minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk on August 17 in Nairobi for the tourism Mou signing ceremony.
Mr Balala said the MoU would play a major part in helping Kenya participate in South African tourism fairs to woo tourists from Southern Africa region.
He noted that the country stands to benefit immensely from the South African tourism market since it is the Africa’s “economic powerhouse”.
More than nine million foreigners visited South Africa last year while locally less than a million tourists toured the country.
“Preparations for the signing of the MoU on tourism related matters with South Africa has been finalised.I expect the minister to jet in next month so that we can formalise our relations,” Mr Balala said.
“The relations will enable Kenya tap the Southern Africa tourism market to help in our recovery plan. We gear towards getting a good number of tourists from the continent,” he added.
He indicated that next year Kenya would participate in the South African tourism fair so as to showcase its eye-catching tourist attraction and packages.
Mr Balala expressed optimism that by the end of the year the sector would be back on its feet following good response from the European tourism market.
He added that efforts to spread wings to new source markets of Russia and Asia were paying dividends as tourists from those regions are set to tour the country in the coming months.
Meanwhile, the minister has once again urged hoteliers to upgrade their tourist facilities to international standards.
Mr Balala said when the hotels standards are updated it would play a part in attracting more holidaymakers.
He added that tourists are sensitive about the quality of the hotels they choose to stay.
Some of the establishments, he added, are indeplorable condition due to lack of renovations.