23 November 2012

Kenya: Insecurity Will Kill Tourism, Kenneth Says

The increasing insecurity is posing a great danger to the country's tourism sector, planning assistant minister Peter Kenneth has said.

Kenneth said unless drastic measures are taken to curb cases of insecurity, the earnings from the tourism sector will drop further jeopardising Kenya's chances of realising vision 2030.

"The number of tourism would definitely fall unless insecurity is checked, this is a serious matter that cannot be ignored. We need security for all, everyone must feel safe," the assistant minister said.

He was addressing University of Nairobi law students on Wednesday evening at the Parklands Campus. The government had targeted to hit three million tourist arrivals this year and earnings of between Sh120billion to Sh130 billion.

Last year, the industry's profits totaled Sh98 billion and arrivals by air stood at 1.3 million visitors. The Tourism Ministry has a five year plan that ends in 2012 that targets 3 million tourists and Sh200 billion in earnings. Major insecurity cases in the recent past include in Garissa, Mombasa, Eastleigh in Nairobi and Samburu.

During his address, Kenneth, who is eying presidency in the coming elections, also said poor infrastructure in tourism destination areas was hurting the sector.

He said proper infrastructure to ensure all tourist sites are easily accessible and necessary amenities available coupled with good security will triple the number of tourists in the country.

On manufacturing sector, Kenneth cited the treaties signed with Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) noting that the country has not fully taken advantage of them.

Kenneth said there is also need for the next government to invest heavily in the ICT sector noting that it has immense potential to boost employment of the youth.

On Agriculture, the assistant minister said farmers need incentives in order to boost food security in the country. He said linking farmers with suitable markets for their products will unlock the potential of the agriculture sector.

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