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Kenya's to achieve 3 mln tourists arrivals by 2017


18:47, May 23, 2013

NAIROBI, May 23 (Xinhua) -- The Kenya government has set a target of achieving three million tourists' arrivals by 2017, a senior government official said late on Wednesday.

Ministry of Tourism Cabinet Secretary Phyllis Kandie said that Kenya's unmatched tourism attractions have the potential to make it the number one destination in Africa.

"We are therefore striving to surpass the three million targets by 2017," Kandie said during a ceremony hosted by the Kenya Tourism Federation aimed familiarizing her with the sector.

According to ministry of tourism, tourists' arrivals in 2012 were approximately 1.7 million. Kenya's economic blue print has previously set a target of achieving three million tourists by 2015.

"I have therefore come up with a ten point plan that will highlight areas that will be prioritized," she said.

The cabinet secretary said that Kenya will also set up a Tourism Market Recovery Programme in order to enable the country to recover its lost market share.

She noted that there is urgent need to improve and upgrade the existing infrastructure on the tourism routes "This should go in tandem with upgrading and expansion of capacity of hotels, resort and conference centers," Kandie said.

"We will also form and commission a Tourism Crisis Response Committee that will handle emergencies that slow down the growth of the sector," she said.

Kandie pledged to work with other cabinet colleagues in other line ministries in order to improve wildlife management and in particular confront poaching more decisively.

She added that her ministry will hasten the implementation of the Tourism Bill 2011.

Kandie, who is also in charge of the East African Community Affairs as well as Commerce portfolio, promised to push for the adoption of a single EAC visa.

"It will enable the five partner states to market the economic bloc as a single destination," she said.

Kenya Tourism Board Managing Director Muriithi Ndegwa said that National Tourism Strategy is currently being formulated. "The strategy will be presented to parliament in the next few months for approval," Ndegwa said.

He said that the policy will help improve Kenya's beach product so as to eliminate factors that negatively affect thriving tourism industry.

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