Kenya’s new Tourism Minister Najib Balala, has recently said that the tourism sector, a key source of hard currency revenues, will take another two years to recover after the government beefed up security and increased funding for the sector.
Balala, who took over the tourism ministry last month, said that security had improved as a result of investments in equipment, vehicles and security personnel and that there has been no serious attack in the last eight months.
“We are going to work hard to not only create jobs and improve our GDP, but also to stabilise our currency by getting the numbers in, by getting the foreign currency in”.
He also stated that the tourism ministry planned to spend 5.2 billion shillings $50.83 million) this fiscal year, which began in July, on measures to foster growth in tourism.
“From December this year we are going to see a lot of visitors come in … To fully recover, I think it will be winter 2018,” he said after skydiving onto a white sandy beach to promote Kenyan resorts.
Visitor numbers and earnings plunged in the last four years as al Shabaab militants from neighbouring Somalia launched a series of attacks on Kenyan soil in retaliation for Kenya’s military intervention in Somalia.
That has hit the shilling currency, which fell 11 percent against the dollar last year after a 4.5 percent decline in 2014, and dragged on growth in the Kenyan economy, East Africa’s largest.
During campaigning for the 2013 elections, President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Jubilee coalition set a target of 3 million visitors a year by 2017.
Kenya’s Tourism Industry Expects Recovery in 201820/01/2016