The Tourism Cabinet Secretary brought together stakeholders in the tourism industry for a round table discussion where issues touching on the industry progress were deliberated.
Speaking during the event that was held at the KICC, Hon. Balala said product development; Capacity Building and Marketing will remain his key priority areas as he works towards revamping the sector.
“We all know that the sector has been performing dismally for the past few years as a result of a myriad of challenges, key among them insecurity. We are currently experiencing some relative peace as a result of government efforts’ said Hon. Balala
The government is encouraging local investors in the tourism sector to set up facilities in the counties with tourism potential.
Tourism Secretary Najib Balala says devolved government structure has provided a lot of opportunities for the tourism sector to thrive.
“Counties are identifying new and unique products to showcase and this will increase visitations to these areas. We therefore need accommodation and catering facilities,” says the secretary.
Balala made the remarks after officiating the opening of Giraffe Ark Game Lodge in Nyeri County. The facility accommodates a maximum of 120 clients besides conferencing facilities. Read more
President’s meeting with officials of the TUI Group last week in Germany painted a positive picture for the tourism industry in Kenya. The President’s meeting came barely a week after a meeting between Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala and TUI officials in Mombasa ,that secured the re-introduction of a weekly charter to Mombasa starting July 2016.
Kenya’ tourism sector is set to benefit from TUI’s return in a big way which had been affected by issues of insecurity. TUI is the largest leisure, travel and tourism company in the world. TUI also owns travel agencies, hotels, airlines, cruise ships and retail stores. The group owns six European airlines – the largest holiday fleet in Europe – and UK-based tour operator- Thomson.CS Najib Balala has been aggressively pushing for the re- introduction of the charters by TUI to boost tourism arrivals.
The willingness of most tour operators to return to Kenya has continued to signify the confidence that visitors have on destination Kenya. President Kenyatta who was accompanied by tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala in his visit of France and Germany took this time to reassure the two countries that Kenya was still the destination of Choice for holiday lovers.
CS Balala also used the opportunity to share with tourism investors some of the tourism incentives that have been announced by the government recently . The incentives include
the charter incentive program where all tourist charters with passengers terminating at MOI international Airport Mombasa and Malindi will enjoy a waiver of landing fee.The charters will also benefit from a thirty Percent USD passenger subsidy per seat filled by international passengers who terminate or disembark in Kenya over the same period. Other incentives include crapping of visa fees for children under the age of 16 years.
The tourism industry yesterday received a major boost following an announcement by a European charter company to commence operations in Kenya during the summer period.
The deal was arrived at after consultations between Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala and representatives of TUI which is one of the world’s largest tour operating company and Kenya’s leading international tour operator.
Tui Poland charter will for the first time be flying tourists to the Kenyan coast during the European summer season from July to October 2016, with a capacity of 180 passengers. It will be operating to Mombasa weekly with a possibility of continuing through the winter period to April 2017. TUI Europe and TUI UK also announced start of operations in the months of November and December.
The TUI representatives led by Mr. Harry Kingma, Tim Ramberg and Mateusz Maszkiewics are already in Mombasa on a 5 days visit to inspect tourism products and engage stakeholders in business during this period.
While welcoming this announcement , Cabinet Secretary Hon. Najib Balala said the charters will benefit from the recently announced charter incentive program that include , waiver of landing fee and a 30 US dollar subsidy to every passenger on the charters terminating in Mombasa and Malindi.
“This is a step in the right direction and a big boost to the tourism industry, we welcome these charters and many others willing to come . The action by TUI is a strong indicator that we are on the right path to tourism recovery” said Hon. Najib Balala
Tourism stakeholders in Lamu and Manda want the British government to lift travel advisories still in place affecting the two Islands following major security investments made by the government.
Cabinet Secretary, Najib Balala and Lamu County Governor, Issa Timmamy led tourism stakeholders in lobbying for the travel advisories to be lifted during a sector meeting attended by British High Commissioner Nick Hailey, in Lamu.
Balala said the government has increased security in the region and it was time for Britain to re-evaluate its advisory by lifting it.
“The travel advisory has been in force for the last five years, the government has done its best, gazetted 12 police stations in the county, deployed nine armoured police vehicles besides other patrols,” Balala said.
Tourism has been highly affected by advisories hurting the livelihood of the local community. Read more
Kenya continued to display a show of renewed vigour in the tourism sector as more congratulatory messages streamed in in support of the government’s efforts towards revamping the sector. At the climax of the ongoing ITB fair in Berlin, hundreds of participants continued to flock the Kenyan stand to learn more about the recent incentives announced by the government to aide in the recovery of the tourism sector. Over 42 exhibitors drawn from hotels, airlines and tour operators are displaying some of the very best deals from Kenya.
Tourism cabinet secretary Najib Balala who is leading the Kenyan delegation to the event has participated in Panel discussions where he has given an impressive picture of the return of the country’s tourism industry after nearly two years of dismal performance in tourism arrivals.
“Yes we have been bruised as a country, but we are now back” Said Hon. Balala during a press briefing attended by local and international media in Germany.
CS Balala took this opportunity to outline to the world some of the incentives that the government has put in place to help the growth of the industry in Kenya. Top on the incentives was the fact that the government was now working on the repair of the Maasai Mara – Narok road to ensure a constant flow of tourists to the Mara. It was good news to the exhibitors who were informed that the Standard gauge railway will be operational from June 2017 . Hon Balala said this will reduce the time taken on the road from Mombasa to Nairobi . While encouraging Germans to increase their numbers to Kenya, Hon. Balala “ Kenya is not the Kenya that you knew before, things are changing and changing for the better”. Read more
Kenya has diverse attractions to offer to our visitors. It is only a few countries around the world where one can relax on pristine sandy beaches and be able to see wildlife in all forms within a short distance. Kenya has 60 National Parks and Reserves all with abundant wildlife. The spectacular wildebeest migration that […]
Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala has warned that irresponsible issuance of travel advisories by Western countries will continue to harm tourism and by large economies of developing countries especially in Africa. Balala has also condemned the quick and negative publicity given to countries affected by calamities.
Speaking to tourism world leaders attending the United Nations World Tourism Organization Summit in Madrid Spain, CS Balala said travel advisories have major impacts on countries struggling to build their tourism sectors and their economies and called on the international community to ensure proper measures are taken and considered before issuance of the advisories.
The refusal by insurance companies to insure visitors touring affected countries Balala said has been a major challenge brought about by travel advisories, among many other effects.
The Cabinet Secretary who was speaking during a high level security meeting of Ministers also condemned the manner in which international media has portrayed countries as unsafe.
The Tourism Cabinet Secretary said the media has played a big role in misinforming the world on the status of security in different parts of the world, Africa in particular.
He gave an example of how the international media labelled Kenya a hot bed of terror at a time when the country was preparing to receive U.S President Barrack Obama. Further, the CS told the tourism leaders of how the Ebola pandemic that affected West Africa affected economies of the entire African continent as the international media portrayed it as having affected the entire continent.
Noting that tourism has a direct link with poverty eradication, the CS asked leaders to jointly work together towards ensuring sustainable tourism.
On Security, Hon. Balala said terrorism was a global threat and has affected many countries Kenya included. He appealed to the international Community to join in the war against acts of terrorism in order to find global peace.
Earlier in the day, the Cabinet Secretary met with leading tour operators in Spain to discuss strategies of increasing tourist arrivals from Spain.
Europe and the United States of America (USA) represent Kenya’s traveler generating region with 70% of the market being Europeans (Switzerland, Italy, Belgium France and Britain account for the bulk of tourists).
The meeting with key tour operators in Spain is line with the Ministry of Tourism’s plan to increase tourist arrival numbers to three million by 2017.
The Cabinet Secretary assured the tour operators of necessary support in ensuring that they intensify destination Kenya marketing in Spain and Europe at large.