Stakeholders oppose merging of KTB with other State agencies

Kenya tourism stakeholders have opposed the planned merger of Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) with three other government agencies in the proposed restructure of parastatals and state corporations.

A report by the Presidential Task Force on Parastatals handed over to President Uhuru Kenyatta recommends an amalgamation of KTB with other three agencies into one entity to be called Kenya Investment Corporation (KIC).

The report which the Head of State has directed its immediate implementation proposes the KTB be merged with the Export Promotion Council, the Kenya Investment Authority and Brand Kenya Board to form KIC.

But tourism stakeholders say the move would kill the small gains the country’s tourism marketing body has achieved in the recent past.

Tourism markets

“The best performing tourism markets like South Africa, Dubai and India all have an independent body that markets those destinations. The only problem KTB has had since its establishment is lack of enough funds and merging it together with other entities would only kill the small gains that it has achieved,” said Mohamed Hersi, Mombasa and Coast Tourism Association Chairman.

He said that if KTB would be ‘swallowed’ then the sector would have serious budgetary allocations for marketing to enable it to compete with other destination with special marketing agencies like South Africa.

He said tourism in coast region had fell with other hotels projecting a 50 per cent drop in business this year compared to last year.

“This year the hospitality sector at the Coast has plunged a two year record low. We were doing between 60 to 70 per cent annual bed occupancy in the last few years,” said Hersi who is also the Managing Director of Heritage Hotels.

He added: “But this year we expect it to drop to 40 per cent and in South Coast it may fell to 30 per cent.

Hotel bookings

He however, said many hotels have recorded high bookings in the ten days of the December holidays.

“We are doing badly and that is why we calling on more funding for KTB, which has done a commendable job with a very meagre budget.” said Hersi.