Country To Launch Option By January 2018
The government has announced its intention to roll out Kenyan transit visas for tourists passing through Nairobi to other destinations.
Tourism CS Najib Balala made the announcement on Friday while addressing more than 200 delegates during the official opening of the Tourism Innovation and Change Forum in Nairobi.
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He said the plan has been approved by the Cabinet as it will boost the country’s recovering tourism. He also added that the visa will be valid for four days.
“The president has directed myself and Nkaissery to create a framework with Kenya Airways and by January 1, there will be Kenyan transit visas for people who come to [the country] via Kenya Airways.”
Tourism contributes to about 10 percent of Kenya’s national revenue with an estimated one million tourists visiting the country every year on average.
The CS, however, said there is a need for policymakers and tourism players to be dynamic and innovative in pricing products based on demand as shaped by high and low seasons.
“If our low season is April, May and June, let’s reduce our visa entry fee during the same period. When the trends are higher we make it expensive (and) when the trends are lower we make it cheaper.”
Balala said the policy to charge flat fees throughout the year at different tourist destinations was not a competitive strategy. He pledged to propose a change of policy before the Cabinet.
The Tourism Innovation and Change Forum also discussed measures and strategies that can help the tourism industry diversify its product by offering to enhance sustainable growth.
Traffic congestion, insecurity, inadequate digital innovations, low-quality entertainment and little innovations in terms of service delivery were some of the key challenges pointed out in the forum.
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Foreign Affairs CS Amina Mohammed, who represented President Uhuru Kenyatta at the conference, challenged investors to look at expanding tourist facilities beyond Nairobi and Mombasa.
She said the ruling Jubilee administration was committed to bettering the investment environment and went on to list current projects.
“A new cruise ship terminal is under construction and will be completed by September 2017 at berth 1 in Mombasa Port.”
“Additionally, KSh7 billion was allocated in the current 2016-2017 budget for modernisation of major airports and airstrips, including Moi International Airport, Isiolo, Malindi, Kisumu and Lamu.”