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Tourism players bank on big infrastructure projects for growth

Bobby Kamani and  Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala
Diani Reef Beach and Resort managing director Bobby Kamani (right) chats with Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala during a Kenya Association of Hotelkeepers and Caterers meeting in Mombasa. Looking on is Kenyatta International Convention Centre chief executive Nana Gecaga. PHOTO | LUCAS BARASA | NMG 

Tourism players are upbeat that Kenya's major infrastructural projects will spur growth in the sector, which has been facing a myriad of challenges.

Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala says the government has injected more than Sh100 billion on projects at the Coast alone.

He says further improving infrastructure accessibility to other destinations will open up the entire country for tourism to succeed.

“We should appreciate what is happening. The national government has invested heavily on infrastructure,” Mr Balala told a Kenya Association of Hotelkeepers and Caterers meeting in Mombasa.

He cited the completion of first phase of Sh11 billion Dongo Kundu bypass that was opened by President Kenyatta and planned expansion of Malindi-Mombasa-Lunga Lunga highway as part of government efforts to open up the region.

Mr Balala said a bridge is to be built to connect North Coast and South Coast to ease congestion at the Likoni ferry channel.

Besides, he said, efforts were also underway to expand the Malindi International Airport and the Ukunda Airstrip.

Strategy

He said tourism players should strategise how they are going to reap from the infrastructure growth.

Diani Reef Beach Resort and Spa managing director Bobby Kamani said South Coast is banking on the completion of the Dongo-Kundu bypass, which gives an alternate route to accessing South Coast by road besides the normal ferry channel.

“We expect the entire Dongo-Kundu bypass to be ready in the next couple of years, with Phase 1 having already been launched.

"Infrastructure development is key to boosting trade, tourism and economic growth for the country,” Mr Kamani whose hotel was recently voted Kenya’s leading beach resort and Africa’s leading spa, said.

He said plans by the Kenya Ferry Services to start services to Diani, Kilifi, Malindi and Lamu and later in Lake Victoria and Lake Turkana will also ease congestion and accessibility into key locations.

“This will inevitable boost tourism to other destinations across the country as well,” Mr Kamani said.

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