Treasury Cabinet secretary Henry Rotich PHOTO:STANDARD
Kenya’s world-acclaimed tourist attraction, Fort Jesus has become one of the biggest gainers in this budget by getting a Sh100 million allocation.
Overall, Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich was generous to the tourism sector by allocating it a total of Sh2.7 billion.
Most of it, he said, would go to recovery efforts after the sector got a battering from travel advisories issued against Kenya by western nations.
Apart from the eye-raising allocation to Fort Jesus – a Unesco world heritage site neglected for years – Mr Rotich announced that a team within the Tourism Regulatory Authority (TRA) in charge of recovery efforts for the sector would get Sh1 billion.
A further Sh1 billion would go to sustaining new markets like China which the Kenya Tourism Board has pinpointed in recent years, and Sh600 million for capital lending to Kenyan hoteliers.
“Tourism has been growing in leaps from a low of four per cent in 2013, to the current rate of 15 per cent. If we can sustain this growth rate through investment in this sector then we can spur job creation in accordance with Vision 2030,” Rotich said.
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The CS pointed out the troubles that have beleaguered national carrier Kenya Airways (KQ) and said that KQ’s recovery was of most importance to the general well-being of tourism.
“Recognising the importance of aviation to the economy, the government is keen to keep the positive trajectory that has been achieved at Kenya Airways (KQ) and is working with other stakeholders to ensure that the ongoing efforts to restructure the KQ balance sheet and place the company on a long term sound financial footing is achieved,” he said.
“In this regard, the government will play a critical role in providing the necessary support and bringing other key stakeholders together to achieve a successful turnaround,” he added.
In the last budget reading, The cabinet secretary announced a Sh1.2 tax incentive called Charter Incentive Programme to charter planes ferrying tourists to the coast.