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Lobby faults ‘too little’ Sh12.8 billion tourism allocation

Maasai Mara Game Reserve
Tourists at the Maasai Mara Game Reserve. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Tour guides have expressed discontent at the Sh12.8 billion allocated to the multi-billion-shilling tourism sector in this year's Budget.

Reacting to last year National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani's Budget statement, the East Africa Tour Drivers and Guides Association Secretary Felix Migoya said the money is not enough to finance the sector’s recovery.

Mr Migoya said stakeholders, including hoteliers expected more funding from the State in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The allocation is too little to have any meaningful impact in the recovery efforts considering that the sector is one of the hardest hit by the virus,” said Mr Migoya.

Tourism is one of industries that have been hit hard by the Covid-19 containment measures.

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In Narok, the county government has suffered a loss of revenues amounting to over Sh2 billion after hotels were shut down in the wake of the pandemic.

Normally, the hotels that operate in the world-famous Maasai Mara Game Reserve and conservancies around it account for 70 percent of the county government’s revenues.

Mr Migoya proposed that the government open up the Mara for domestic tourists to cushion hotel and tour companies from further losses.

Oldarpoi Mara camp chief executive Nelson ole Reyia also expressed disappointment at this year's budgetary allocation, saying Treasury had overlooked the importance of the sector to the national economy.

Mr Reyia said tourism supports all the sectors, “and when it is down, so are all these other sectors.” Last year, Kenya’s tourism earnings grew by 3.9 per cent to Sh163.6 billion.

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