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Kenya needs a new airport and convention centre to boost tourism, says Balala

Amb. Ukur Yattani, Acting Cabinet Secretary, the National Treasury and Planning, who is also the Cabinet Secretary for Labour and Social Protection, gives his speech during the presentation  of the 2019 Tourism Sector Rerformance Reforms on Friday January 10, 2020 at the Serena Hotel  in Nairobi  where  he was  the Chief Guest. Photo by KNA.

The  Tourism  Cabinet Secretary (CS), Najib Balala has expressed the need to build a modern airport and a State- of- Art Convention Centre to boost the tourism sector.

Speaking  on Friday, while releasing the  2019 Tourism Sector Performance Report, Balala said that the sector has seen a 1.2 percent growth over the past one year.

“We  need  a  Brand new State-of- the-Art Convention Centre, the Kenya International Conventions Centre (KICC) has done its best and we appreciate,” said Balala.

The CS added that it is important for the government to establish a State Department of Aviation, saying the sector is key since most tourist fly into the country hence the need at the moment to particularly address the issues of Kenya Airways.

“The 1.2 percent growth was driven by several factors, among them: political stability, security situation, marketing efforts, ease of doing business and investor confidence,” highlighted Balala.

The National Treasury and Planning  Ag. CS, Ukur Yattani  expressed concern on how expensive it is to travel within Africa than in any other part of the world.

“We really need to look at our pricing in order to have targeted tourism,” said Yattani.

He promised to increase the budget in sectors that support tourism and also support Kenya Airways for it is a contributor in increasing revenue on the sector.

“The National Treasury has been supportive towards the tourism industry and significantly investing for some sectors such as security, infrastructure and aviation,” said Yattani.

Balala  said  that Jomo Kenyatta International Airport and Moi International Airport  registered substantial growth of 6.07 percent and 8.56 percent respectively.

He added that the number of international visitors through all points of entry in 2019 was 2,048,834 compared to 2018 when arrivals were 2,025,206.

“I want to announce that the tourism industry international arrival, particularly here in Kenya, we have grown from 2.025 million of last year to 2.048 million this year. We have a growth of 1.2 percent that has been experienced,” said Balala.

According to the Report, international arrivals by age 11 percent (18-24), 29 percent (25-34), 30 percent (35-44), 18 percent (45-54), 8 percent (55-64), 4 percent (65 and over).

Although the overall growth was marginal, some key markets recorded substantial growth. Amongst the overseas markets, the most significant growth was recorded from France (14.09 percent), USA (9.007 percent), Spain (5.478 percent) and china (3.058 percent).

Balala said that the tourism sector needs to take note of the notable trends that will shape the global tourism sector and impact on destination Kenya’s performance in 2020. The trends, include growth of free independent travel that is becoming wonderful and self-rewarding experience and is now accounting for 36.1 percent of international visitors in Kenya.

By  Joel Chacha/Brian Oduya

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