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Tourism CS seeks review of Naivasha downgrade

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

The Ministry of Tourism has intervened in a bid to reverse a decision that downgraded the status of Naivasha as a conference hub.

The Salaries and Remuneration Commission lowered the per diem rates for civil servants going to Naivasha because of what it said were deteriorated standards.

Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala, however, assured the Nakuru County government that he would seek audience with the SRC to reverse the decision and come up with a strategic plan that will brand Naivasha as a key tourist destination.

“I will take up the issue with the SRC and ensure Naivasha is re-categorised. I assure the devolved government that my ministry is committed to work jointly with the Kenya Tourism Board to market destinations in Nakuru as the best in the global arena,” said Mr Balala.

Previously, Naivasha was at the same level with Mombasa and Kisumu where allowances paid to government workers attending conferences and workshops was the same, but this changed with the downgrading.

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Tourism stakeholders also protested the move they said had greatly affected businesses.

“Our clients are now preferring to hold their meetings in Mombasa, Nairobi and Kisumu, where the per diem rates still remain high. We urge the government to reconsider the decision which has negatively impacted our businesses, “said a hotelier James Mwangi.

Nakuru leaders led by Governor Lee Kinyanjui had petitioned the national government to re-think the decision which they said had greatly affected Naivasha hotels that depended on conferences.

Mr Kinyanjui urged the Ministry of Tourism to rescind the decision and reinstate the status of the town.

Naivasha Member of Parliament Jayne Kihara said Naivasha was a leading destination in conferencing tourism.

He argued that Naivasha’s popularity matched Nairobi and Mombasa as conference hubs.

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