Government incentives to woo tourists

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The government has waived visa fee for children below 16 years to attract family visitors to Kenya.

Landing fee for all charter airlines terminating their journeys at the Kenyan coast has also been waived while 35 US dollars subsidy for every passenger on board will be reimbursed.

East African Affairs Commerce and Tourism Mrs. Phyllis Kandie made the remarks at this year’s World Travel Market (WTM) tourism fair. She said the move was aimed at increasing tourism numbers especially to the coastal region.

“The coastal region has borne the brunt of insecurity incidents that has led to cancellations of travels, hotels recording dismal bookings and some have had to lay off workers in the aftermath of the dip in arrivals.  The incentives are among a myriad of measures to put the tourism numbers on track,” said Kandie.

She said the incentives that take effect immediately will run for two year and will be reviewed after six months to suit prevailing market conditions and based on performance of the same.

The number of charters, to the coast, she pointed out has reduced drastically, but expressed optimism that insecurity that had scared them away has now been scaled up.

“As a government, we have done much to provide a conducive environment for our visitors. I am sure the incentives we have announced today will go a long way,” says the Cabinet secretary.

The Visa fee waiver for children below 16 years of age applies to all nationalities and is aimed at positioning Kenya as a family holiday destination thereby encouraging more family, Italian Tours, Tuscany tours,  German tours, and more into the country.

Kandie disclosed that waiver of landing rates will stimulate demand for Kenya by new charters while encouraging charters already flying to Kenya to increase their route frequencies.

Passenger subsidy, explained Kandie, will reward charter airlines that make long term capacity growth commitments to bring tourists to experience Kenya’s Beach product.

Ndegwa termed the move a major boost to the strategies already in motion to improve the tourism sector that is now picking up.

It is a positive endorsement and recognition of government’s efforts in improvement security for both citizens and tourists alike,” he said.