Tourism secretary: Kenya’s tourist numbers down 15 percent
NAIROBI, Kenya - The number of tourists dropped by 15 percent last year compared to 2012, Tourism Cabinet Secretary Phyllis Kandie has said.
NAIROBI, Kenya – The number of tourists dropped by 15 percent last year compared to 2012, Tourism Cabinet Secretary Phyllis Kandie has said.
Ms Kandie said last year, the country received 1.499 million tourists while in 2012 a total of 1.780 million tourists visited the country.
She blamed the decrease on among other factors terrorism and the unfriendly travel advisories.
The decline, she said, saw a drop in revenue collection, saying last year the industry fetched Sh93.97 billion compared to Sh96.02 billion in 2012.
The Cabinet Secretary said the number of tourist arrivals from all the top five markets sources have gone down, adding that introduction of taxes on tourism products and services and poaching had also dealt a blow to the industry.
The Government, said Kandie, is fast-tracking a strategy seeking to mainstream domestic tourism as the main source of income in the sector and also the international arrivals which, she said, aim to increase from the current 1.8 million to 3 million annually.
She said in April the ministry constituted a 14-member Tourism Recovery Committee whose mandate is to advice and co-ordinate Government’s responses to mounting security threats within the industry.
In a speech read on her behalf by John Gakure, the Senior Deputy Secretary during the 19th edition of the National Tourism Competition at Utalii College, Kandie said county governments should be involved in tourism activities to help improve the sector.
“Devolution has brought numerous opportunities through which partnership with county governments can be explored and strengthened. I appeal to the county governments to support the competitions’ preliminaries in their respective counties and to participate in planning and execution of the same,” she said.
Utalii College Principal Kenneth Ombongi said plans are underway to incorporate tourism and hospitality players in Africa into the competition as they move to make it continental.
Dr Ombongi said the college was nominated to host the 2016 International Tourism Congress, an international association of hotel school directors and deans of hospitality colleges and universities.
He said even though terrorism has dealt a blow to the sector all is not lost, saying the industry did not succumb to the 1991/92 clashes, 1998 US embassy bombing, the Kikambala hotel bombing as well as the post-election violence.
The principal welcomed the recently announced plan by the Government to rescue the sector which is grappling with terrorism which saw major tourism markets issue travel advisories.