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Task force backs plan to set up unit to protect tourists

Tourism CS Najib Balala (right) flanked by International Union for Conservation of Nature council member Ali Kaka during the handing over ceremony on the establishment of Tourism Protection Service in Nairobi on February 14 2017.The Protection Service, will help strengthen the services of the National Police Service to support the Tourism sector in addressing safety and security issues in the country. [PHOTO: DAVID NJAAGA/STANDARD}

The Ministry of Tourism has received a report championing the establishment of tourism security services to boost the sector.

Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala said implementation of the report of a task force that was formed last year to develop the structure of a Tourism Protection Service (TPS) as well its regulatory framework will help change the perception of tourists about Kenya.

“We would like a service that will address visitors’ issues immediately since bureaucratic delays can result in loss of tourism numbers. At the same time, the issue of image building should be a priority,” said Mr Balala.

The ministry had commissioned a task force to come up with suggestions leading to formation of TPS to cater for security of tourists in the county in the wake of insecurity incidents. Receiving the report in his office yesterday, the CS pledged to roll out an implementation plan soon to fast track the formation of the service.

He said by the next financial year, the ministry will give directions on how to implement the report’s recommendations in line with the Tourism Act 2011. According to the task force, implementing the TPS will require a two-year road map at a cost of Sh1.77 billion.

The Ali Kaka-chaired task force had been charged with developing a code of regulations for the TPS, a criteria for hiring of personnel for the service as well as a curriculum for training the personnel in tourism and hospitality-related matters. Mr Balala said the service would enhance coordinated efforts in addressing visitors’ concerns.

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“The poor perception and how we handle incidents is eroding the image of this destination. Implement this project will give confidence to the tourists that there is a professional and able entity dealing with visitors,” he said.

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