Tourism earnings dip in 2015, as sector looks to bounce back
Tourism sector earnings dipped by Sh2.6 billion in 2015, further illuminating the challenges continue to plague the sector.
Travel advisories, tired tourism products as well as lack of marketing funds are part of the challenges highlighted by Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala that continue to work against tourism revival.
While numerous measures have been put in place and a revival plan put together, it would appear it is yet to have the desired effect on the tourism sector.
“We have reduced park entry fees, this week we are going to abolish VAT on park entry fees as well to make it affordable. We have abolished visa charges for children under 16,” Mr Balala said.
However, according to the latest statistics from the sector, Kenya’s top five source markets showed a negative growth trend with the largest being the United Kingdom recording a 15.9 percent decline followed by the United States market at negative 10.5. Italy recorded the highest drop in tourist numbers at 34.6 percent.
It is against this backdrop that Kenya’s tourism receipts declined by three percent to record Sh84.6 billion shillings.
In as much as the government has put in place interventions to mitigate further decline in tourism such as the re-evaluation of park fees, visa fees waiver and improved tourist inbound travel facilitation, Balala remains pessimistic that these measures will go down the drain if the current political instability persists.
“Demonstrations are affecting tourism. The last 2 weeks have sent shivers. All my efforts to revive the sector are being stressed. This is going to disrupt our country. We can have our political games but if we are not careful, we will shut down our economy,” he said.
Sh4 billion has been allocated to the tourism sector with Sh1.6 billion going towards the Kenya Tourism Board that has been tasked with the mandate of changing Kenya’s image to both the domestic and international market through trade and public relations campaigns.
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