Kenya:support tourism Growth

Tourism Minister Najib Balala was upbeat last week when he announced improved performance of the sector, which had recorded a 16 per cent revenue rise in the first quarter of the year.

The reasons for the high tourist arrivals include aggressive promotion in the key markets of Europe and America and new regions like China and Japan.

While these efforts are commendable, it is not lost that little is being done to support tourism to reap maximum benefits.

Specifically, there is concern over poor infrastructure, undermining access to the main destinations.

At the weekend, for example, tour operators and hotel owners renewed their complaint about the poor roads to the Maasai Mara game reserve, the world’s famed safari destination.

This is just one case. Many other destinations, including the western tourism circuit, are poorly served.

Add to this fact cases of insecurity that bedevil the country, and the obstacles facing tourism become bigger.

Given the positive signs of tourism growth, it behoves the government to methodically deal with the impediments such as the poor road, rail, and air transport system and insecurity if it seeks to win more tourists and up revenues.