27 September 2012

Kenya: Country Bids for More Hotel Investments

THE government is wooing hotel investors with promises of tax incentives and product diversification in tourism industry to increase the country's capacity to accommodate more visitors at a time.

While opening the Africa Hotel Investors conference on Tuesday afternoon, vice president Kalonzo Musyoka and Tourism Minister Dan Mwazo sought to reassure the investors of the government's support in a bid to get more big brands to open businesses in Kenya.

"The Government is also committed to providing incentives to attract Investment in the country, such incentives include, Tax holidays, Land on lease, Single licensing, exemption of duty and 100% investment allowance for investors," said Mwazo. On his part, Kalonzo lauded investors in the sector for venturing into non traditional accommodation such as villas, home-stays, eco lodges and golf resorts which he noted would go a long way in diversifying Kenya's tourism product.

The VP noted that more investments were needed to sustain the growth in visitor numbers recorded annually. Kenya he said, was picking up business in terms of conference tourism and as such there was still room for more hotel groups and investors to set up accommodation facilities.

"In terms of tourism products, we are no longer solely dependent on beach and safari. We have developed niche products such as Eco-tourism, adventure and sports tourism," said the VP. The two day conference brought together industry chiefs from some of the biggest hotel brands in the world with a view of taking a critical look at investment and growth opportunities in Africa.

Speaker Ian Gold who gave a talk on future economic prospects in Africa told the delegates to grab opportunities that are emerging in the continent as the region was the only one among the five continents that is poised for huge growth by year 2020. "By 2020, the hotel investment opportunities in this region will be enormous," noted Gold. He cited a growing GDP, middle class and increasing regional connectivity in terms of air transport as some of the factors that will drive tourism business in the continent.

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