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Balala urges hotel owners to modernise their services

Najib Balala
Tourism and Wildlife Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Kenyan hotel owners have been asked to market modern products to attract local and international visitors.

Tourism and Wildlife Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala urged industry players to stop selling outdated products but embrace the needs of the modern traveller.

He said the contemporary tourist travels to experience a destination.

“We cannot continue using the same excursions, itineraries and programmes we had 20 years ago. We held a symposium in Diani three weeks ago that addressed product development and experiences,” he said during the 53rd edition of the International Tourism Bourse in Berlin, Germany.

The bourse started on Wednesday last week.

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Mr Balala directed hotel owners to revamp their establishment categories.

“Things have changed. The free independent traveller will book the accommodation and do extras elsewhere. It does not mean one has to eat and have the pleasure of experience at the same place,” Mr Balala said.

Tax breaks

However, Coast Tourism Working Group member Bobby Kamani asked the government to give the industry tax breaks.

“The government should make it compulsory for the tax saved to be ploughed back into the hotels. Some hotels are taking the upgrading seriously but not all are giving it the importance it deserves,” Mr Kamani told the Nation.

Forty two Kenyan companies are taking part in the bourse. PrideInn Group of Hotels founder and MD Hasnain Noorani said ITB makes it possible to forge partnerships.

Mr Balala said the fair is crucial to Kenya’s tourism as it enables stakeholders to appreciate the differences and improve and learn from others.

He asked the players to give the tourism market new categories of accommodation.

“We are targeting domestic and international markets. There are different models of accommodation such as bed only, bed and breakfast and full board,” the CS said.

“That is why we need to improve the products in terms of accommodation and experience. People will book accommodation in one place but experience food and other products elsewhere,” Mr Balala added.

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