State mulls lower visa fees to attract tourists

Business Daily Kenya:  The government is considering introduction of a low-season tourist visa fee so as to attract more tourists during th...

Business Daily Kenya: 

Tourism CS Najib Balala presents Dr Taleb Rifai, UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) secretary general the Award of Order of the Golden Heart of Kenya, Second Class Elder of the Golden Heart (EGH) during the tourism forum at KICC. President Uhuru Kenyatta conferred the award on the tourism boss for his distinguished and outstanding services rendered to Kenya. Photo/HELLEN MUTURI

The government is considering introduction of a low-season tourist visa fee so as to attract more tourists during this time of the year, which falls between the months of April and July.

This is among the many radical measures government wants to put in place to raise tourism numbers in the country. Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala said President Uhuru Kenyatta has tasked the ministry to find more innovative ways to increase tourist arrivals from the current one million to five million.

The CS made the remarks during the recently-concluded Tourism Innovation and Change Forum 2017 held at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC) in Nairobi.

“Already I have presented a proposal for a low-season visa fee because even our hotels are offering a package of 50 per cent discount during this period to attract customers,” Balala told People Daily.

Tourist visa currently goes for $50 (Sh5,163) during both low and high season. The CS also said that his ministry is working with the Ministry of Interior and Kenya Airways on a framework that can allow for transit visas of between 24 hour and 96 hour for visitors from African countries so as to tap into the African market for more numbers.

The transit visas will allow tourists to make a detour to local tourist destinations before taking the next flight instead of spending that time at the airport. President Kenyatta said the government is committed to providing private sector actors and all other stakeholders with critical support required to make the tourism industry competitive.

In particular, the Head of State noted, the government continues to develop the infrastructure needed to sustain a thriving tourist sector, citing the just commissioned Standard Gauge Railway (SGR), which will link all tourist attractions between Nairobi and Mombasa – among them Amboseli, Tsavo and entire coastal region.

“Besides the Madaraka Express, a new cruise ship terminal is under construction; and will be completed by September at berth 1 of Mombasa Port,” the President said in a speech read by Foreign Affairs and International Trade Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed.

Additionally, he disclosed, Sh7 billion was allocated in the current budget for the modernisation of major airports and airstrips including Moi International airport, Isiolo, Malindi, Kisumu and Lamu.

The post State mulls lower visa fees to attract tourists appeared first on Mediamax Network Limited.

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