Najib Balala is no longer a former Kenyan Tourism Minister

Kenya’s Tourism Minister, The Honorable Najib Balala was brought back. After a brief time drifting to mining, Kenya’s president Kenyatta last week moved him back to where he was before. Najib again is now the minister of tourism for the Republic of Kenya.

Mining, by broad consensus, was the wrong portfolio given his vast experience in the sector and after serving already as Tourism Minister during the Kibaki presidency.

Balala took over at a time when sectoral competence was key to reviving the Kenyan tourism industry after a string of poor performers in this, for Kenya, crucial portfolio.

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President Kenyatta only nominated nine Cabinet Secretaries at the time and notably dropped Balala’s predecessor Phyllis Kandie from the cabinet, as he did also with Prof. Judi Wakhungu who held the Environment and Natural Resources portfolio.

More cabinet positions will be announced over the coming days it is understood but for now it is a moment for the country’s tourism industry to look into the next years with renewed confidence now that their main ally in government has made a comeback.

Former Seychelles tourism minister Alain St. Ange, who now operates a tourism consulting company and together with this publication is a  member of the TravelMarketingNetwork in New York,  was one of the first to congratulate Najib Bala on his re-appointment.

The announcement of Principal Secretaries of Tourism for Kenya is expected in due course and like with Balala himself is the tourism sector rooting for Mrs. Fatuma Hirsi to serve a second term in the tourism ministry too

Najib Balala has retained his tourism portfolio in the new Cabinet announced by President Kenyatta.

Balala is also the Chair of the Regional Commission for Africa the UNWTO. He is the Tourism Minister who has the responsibility to oversee the rewriting of the Brand Africa narrative as Africa moves forward to claim a greater share of the tourism market.

Kenya also has a seat at the UNWTO Executive Council until 2019.

Alain St. Ange said: “I know Najib Balala and have always appreciated his professionalism and dedication to tourism. He has always been one to raise the Kenya flag and, in so doing, raise that of Africa as a whole. Congratulations Najib Balala, indeed a great choice by President Kenyatta.”

Juergen Thomas Steinmetz has continuously worked in the travel and tourism industry since he was a teenager in Germany (1979), beginning as a travel agent up through today as a publisher of eTurboNews (eTN), one of the world’s most influential and most-read travel and tourism publications. He is also Chairman of ICTP. His experiences include working and collaborating with various national tourism offices and non-governmental organizations, as well as private and non-profit organizations, and in planning, implementing, and quality control of a range of travel and tourism-related activities and programs, including tourism policies and legislation. His major strengths include a vast knowledge of travel and tourism from the point of view of a successful private enterprise owner, superb networking skills, strong leadership, excellent communication skills, strong team player, attention to detail, dutiful respect for compliance in all regulated environments, and advisory skills in both political and non-political arenas with respect to tourism programs, policies, and legislation. He has a thorough knowledge of current industry practices and trends and is a computer and Internet junkie.