The Kenya Ministry of Tourism wants the government to inject more funds to the Kenya Tourist Board (KTB) for tourism marketing and promotion as well as its operations.
Tourism Minister Najib Balala said that KTB’s overall allocation of Shs 800 million would not even be adequate for marketing Kenya as a tourism destination.
In a presentation to the parliamentary committee on Finance, Planning and Trade at County Hall, Balala said the tourism sector remained key in generating revenue and therefore deserved to be allocated a bigger amount of resources to match the competition.
“Egypt spends 100 million US dollars, South Africa uses between 100 to 120 million US dollars while Tunisia a very tiny country spends 48 million US dollars on marketing and yet Kenya was giving to KTB an overall of Shs 800 million not only for marketing but also for its operations,” he said.
He told the committee chaired by Nambale MP Chris Okemo, that since the tourism industry generated Shs 65 billion to the exchequer it would be meaningful for the government to provide the sector with 5 per cent of the amount for promotion.
He however praised Finance Minister Uhuru Kenyatta for prominently profiling the tourism sector in this year’s budget.
He said his ministry has set aside Shs 180million to appoint International Public Relations agencies to help promote the country overseas as part of its strategies to attract more tourists.
Okemo asked the minister to explain the current tourist numbers and values and his ministry’s plans to increase the expenditure of every tourist who visited the country.
“The numbers in this first quarter of the year have increased by 1.7 per cent compared to our record year 2007. By July last year, 728,000 tourists came and this generated Shs 58 billion to the exchequer,” Balala said.
And on the yields, he said Kenya registered 140 dollars per tourist per day compared to Egypt’s 40 dollars and Tanzania’s 170 dollars.