Organisers of the Africa Hotel Investment Forum and other leaders of the hotel investment community have welcomed the new pro-tourism administration in Kenya, hot on the heels of the announcement by the president of several ministerial candidates.
The new government stood for election with tourism highlighted in its manifesto and since Uhuru Kenyatta’s inauguration, commitments have been made to increase the intensity of Kenya’s tourism marketing activity, to double the number of tourists to three million a year and to provide incentives to encourage investment in tourist accommodation.
According to the World Travel & Tourism Council, the total contribution of tourism to Kenya’s GDP in 2012 was KES448.4bn, 12.5 per cent of the total.
The figure is forecast to rise by 2.2 per cent in 2013 and to rise by 4.5 per cent per annum over the next decade to KES714.8bn in 2023.
Phyllis Jepkosgei Kandie has been nominated as the new cabinet secretary for commerce and tourism, with useful experience to draw on from a career that has embraced banking and enterprise promotion.
She also has academic qualifications in business and economics.
Improved transport infrastructure is also high on the new government’s agenda.
Michael Kamau, a prominent civil engineer and a key architect of the infrastructure upgrade in the last ten years, has been proposed as the cabinet secretary responsible for constructing a series of commuter railway networks in Nairobi, Mombasa and Kisumu, including a link to Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.
One gathering that will have a bearing on the speed of tourism growth will be AHIF 2013, which takes place in Nairobi on September 24th-25th.
It brings together the leading international hotel investors in Africa with local operators, ministers, government officials and industry experts, who will discuss all aspects of hotel investment and operation in Africa.
In 2012, the event attracted 426 delegates from 38 countries who represented 310 organisations. Several networking contacts made at AHIF have since resulted in promising new business relationships and the event attracted considerable media attention, with around a hundred reports appearing in the Kenyan media and around the world.
Jonathan Worsley, chairman of AHIF organiser Bench Events, said: “The pro-tourism stance of the new Kenyan government is evidently increasing the country’s investment appeal and the proactive nature of the Kenya Tourist Development Corporation is a factor too.
“Even though there was pressure to stage AHIF 2013 in another African city this year, it made a strong and successful case to keep the event in Nairobi.”