Balala says hotel entrepreneurs should be given free land


Najib Balala, Kenya’s tourism minister, has said that potential investors need more incentives to spur growth in the tourism industry. Although tax relief already exists for entrepreneurs interested in building hotels and purchasing certain types of equipment, Mr. Balala said they should also be given free land.

“We need to look beyond that (tax incentives) now,” said Mr. Balala adding that allocating land could spur global hotel chains into setting up new resorts in the country.

He spoke in Nairobi on Wednesday while handing over a Sh10 million check to the Kenya Tourism Federation (KTF). Mr. Balala said the private sector in Kenya was “weaker” than the public sector noting “if the government wants to respond better, the private sector has to be stronger.”

The minister said the government is working with Tourism Trust Kenya to increase funding to KTF, which is an umbrella body of eight private-sector tourism organizations.

The federation’s Adam Jillo said the Sh10 million will go towards the organization’s “safety center,” which is responsible for monitoring security in the tourism sector. KTF’s members include Kenya Association of Tour Operators, Kenya Association of Hotelkeepers and Caterers, and the Ecotourism Society of Kenya.

Ms. Lucy Kambuni, the Tourism Trust head, said her organization will soon be asked to match the funds it gets from the government.