Visa fees for tourists visiting Kenya will be reduced by half starting next month.

The move, aimed at stimulating demand for family travel, has also seen the government scrap visa fees for children below 16 years who are coming to Kenya as tourists.

Currently, the fee is about Sh4,000 (or $50) and could be reduced to $25. The offer will expire in December.

Speaking in Berlin, Germany, on Sunday, Tourism minister Najib Balala said the offer was expected to increase tourist arrivals by 10 to 15 per cent this year despite the current global economic crisis.

Mr Balala is leading the Kenyan delegation to the International Tourism Bourse, where Kenya is represented by 26 industry players, including hoteliers and tour and travel operators.

The government recently allocated an extra Sh250 million to the Kenya Tourist Board for enhanced marketing.

The announcement of the latest government incentive is said to have been received well by participants at the ITB, which is the biggest tourism trade show in the world. It has more than 10,000 exhibitors from all over the world and over 180,000 visitors.

Earlier on Sunday, Minister Balala and his South Africa counterpart Marthinus, Mr Van Schalkwyk, agreed to sign a memorandum of understanding between Kenya and South Africa by the end of May.

Under this agreement, Kenya will officially begin taking part in the largest trade fair in Africa, which is held in South Africa.