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Kenya calls for pact on tourism

Discussion in 'Kenyan News and Politics' started by Geza Ulole, Jan 6, 2010.

  1. G

    Geza Ulole JF-Expert Member

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    By Tom Mosoba

    Kenya's tourism minister Najib Balala has called for the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Tanzania on tourism development and promotion.

    Mr Balala said such an agreement would help remove "serious" bureaucratic barriers and other existing impediments that were hindering cross-border cooperation in the sector that was vital to local economic growth and regional integration.

    Tourism is a leading foreign exchange earner for both Kenya and Tanzania, whose economies are the biggest in East Africa.

    Tanzania raked in $1.3 billion (Sh1.6 trillion) in 2008 from 642,000 visitors to account for 17.2 per cent of the GDP, while, according to the Kenya Tourism Board (KTB), Kenya's earnings were around $811 million (Sh1.05 trillion) from fewer than 200,000 arrivals despite the disruptive effects of the post-election violence that year.

    Buoyed by signs of recovery, including from the global economic crisis that saw the number of foreign tourists fall in 2009, respective authorities have mounted aggressive marketing campaigns to attract an estimated 3 million visitors yearly between them by 2012.

    The incentives include visa and national park entry fees reduction and discounts in safari and accommodation packages.

    Mr Balala told The Citizen in an exclusive interview in Zanzibar last weekend that Kenya had targeted to attract 2 million tourists after revising the ambitious figure of 3 million spelt out in the country�s Vision 2030 development blueprint.

    Meanwhile, Tanzania Tourist Board (TTB) director of marketing Amant Macha said Tanzania expected to draw in 1 million tourists mark and raise revenue to a record $1.5 billion (about Sh2 billion).

    The EAC secretariat in Arusha is also planning to roll out this year a strategy to sell the region as a single tourism destination to consolidate earnings and deepen economic cooperation.

    The move is seen as vital following the signing last November of the EAC Common Market Protocol that comes into effect in July.

    But while Mr Balala sees the single market destination as "noble and timely," he accused Tanzania of alleged "bullishness"in its marketing approach.

    He also questioned the country's commitment to the single destination strategy, saying his Tanzanian counterpart, Ms Shamsa Mwangunga, had skipped several important meetings while restrictions had been imposed on Kenyan operators.

    The Kenyan minister also addressed the Press at the Blue Bay Beach Resort during which he highlighted several marketing opportunities and challenges facing tourism in the region.

    He was on a weeklong vacation in Zanzibar, and was accompanied during the press briefing by the chairman of Zanzibar Association of Tourism Investors (Zati), Mohammed Simai.

    Mr Balala cited the closure of Sand River/Bologonja border crossing that links Maasai Mara and Serengeti as an example.

    "The route was ordered closed after only one day following an agreement," he said adding that Kenyan tour operators were still being charged $200 (Sh260,000) per driver to enter Tanzania while his government only charged Ksh200 (Sh3,400).

    However, Natural Resources and Tourism permanent secretary Dr Ladislaus Komba told The Citizen on Monday that Mr Balala�s claims were largely unsubstantiated.

    "Tanzania is committed to marketing the region as a single tourism destination. We will take part in a technical officers meeting next week while Ms Mwangunga will attend a scheduled council of ministers' meeting scheduled for January 18," said Dr Komba.

    He said he could not comment on the proposed MoU because the ministry had yet to discuss its merits with Kenya. Ms Mwangunga could not be reached because she was away in China where she was leading a delegation on promotional tours of Asia.

    There is, however, the Tourism Co-operation Agreement of 1983 that spells out border crossings between the countries and, according to the TTB, this agreement does not cover the Sand River/Bologonja crossing point to access Serengeti by Kenyan tour operators.

    The controversy over this border point erupted after KTB chief executive Fred Kaigua issued a statement announcing that Tanzania had agreed to open it, but TTB later maintained that the crossing would remain closed for environmental reasons.

    Mr Balala said the proposed MoU would aid authorities to make predictable policy decisions and plan for mutual programmes that will not suffer unnecessary stand offs that paint partner states "as if they were at war."

    "Kenya has signed MoUs with countries such Rwanda, South Africa, Mauritius and Morocco and I believe one would be important to enhance our economic ties with Tanzania as well," said the Minister.

    He said Kenya was ready to help Tanzania train personnel in the hospitality industry to alleviate a crippling shortage and also share other incentives to boost the low rate of domestic tourism.

    He said the high cost of air travel in the region was too expensive for a majority.

    "All of our governments should adopt the open sky policy to enable smaller but cheaper charter companies to establish services and compete with the established airlines that have clung on government protection yet they were raking profits for private shareholders," said Mr Balala.

    He said EAC countries should not only depend on foreign visitors but also market their destinations locally to tap into a growing base of loyal domestic holidaymakers. "Zanzibar is the diamond of East Africa but how many Kenyans or Ugandans know the beauty of this place?"

    Mr Simai said Tanzanian investors in the sector were ready to cooperate with the government to prepare local investors to compete when the common market takes effect.

    He said poor infrastructure should be addressed because examples like the current power shortage in Zanzibar had seen some tourism hotels close business over the last few days while some were posting huge loses.


    Additional reporting by Mking Mkinga

    Source: The Citizen
     
  2. Ab-Titchaz

    Ab-Titchaz Content Manager Staff Member

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    Geza,

    Why is Balala calling for this pact now?...ama ni kwa vile Bongo iliingiza zaidi ya Kenya according to the stats?

    ..and then this:

    ...Mheshimiwa Balala,its called a test of your own medicine.

    Meanwhile this is a very patronising statement right here:

    Thats my 2 cents.
     
  3. G

    Geza Ulole JF-Expert Member

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    I wonder whether Balala has ever been to school? Once he suggested Kenyan education curriculum to be changed to have 3 months break just like the Western one for primary school kids to tour Mombasa beaches! Can anyone produce his CV here? cause it seems he blames Tanzania for his country's tourism slump!

    But i should ask him to tell me where was Kenya all these years when the Bologonja/Sand River border was closed as it seems a need didnt arise but only now? And where are the merits if we open the border on our ecosystem (since the Environmental Management Plan that was conducted by an Independent and higly acknowledged body i.e. Frankfurt Zoological Society asked for the gate to remain closed) and on our hospitality businesses in Arusha (since the Government wants the tourists from Nairobi to sleep in Arusha and spend)? And on the Tourism pact, what if it does not benefit Tanzania (i.e. draconian; meaning it has no merits on Tanzania while favoring Kenya's interests)? should Tanzania just sign the agreement cause Balala has ranted at a beach resort in Zanzibar? Does Balala know what is Environmental Management Plan (EMP), if Masai Mara has never had one! Please Balala grow up and respect scientific guidilines set on Serengeti!

    Tanzania tourism policies discourge mass tourism just like the Botwana, so that's why you see costs are high (air tax, 200$ per driver e.t.c.)! It is deliberately done so to protect nature while yielding massive revenues! get it and stop on pushing for impossibles! Moreover Tanzania does not want to be trained in Kenyan institutions it is cheaper and more sustainable to have ours modernized and we have signed a MOU with France to help us on that, so again please stop your unnecessary smearing tactics!
     
  4. Ab-Titchaz

    Ab-Titchaz Content Manager Staff Member

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  5. G

    Geza Ulole JF-Expert Member

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    hajasema kama ni BA, BBA au BSC au MA, MBA au MSC mi sidhani kama ana bachelors huyu maana hizi argument zake hazijaenda shule always zimekaa kisharishari
     
  6. Smatta

    Smatta JF-Expert Member

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    Wacha vitisho aisee, ati CV yake? utachekwa wewe na hako ka masters kako ka India.
     
  7. G

    Geza Ulole JF-Expert Member

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    People who have been to Havard are smart my brother e.g. Obama. Balala needs to state year and what course he attained at Havard! And for your information sijasoma India nimesoma Bongo!
     
  8. A

    Alpha JF-Expert Member

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    Nice post Geza i agree with you completely.

    Tanzania's Tourism sector finally waking up and Kenya is begining to feel the heat LOL!

    TZ has very little if anything to gain by signing this MoU. Whereas Kenya has a lot to gain.

    Keep the boarder crossing closed and keep fees high. We want High quality, low environmental impact tourism not mass tourism.
     
  9. Smatta

    Smatta JF-Expert Member

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    What benefit will it be to you if he told you he was Obama's classmate? You are against him just because he made a supposedly patronizing statement. Stick to what is important instead of derailing us to non issues like his educational background, because am sure, unlike you most of us don't care about what he took for breakfast and which size of shoe he wares.
     
  10. Saint Ivuga

    Saint Ivuga JF-Expert Member

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    Hivi ni kweli bongo hamna wasomi wa fani ya utalii? kuna my bro anamaliza degree of specialist in hotel bussines and tourism atapata kazi kweli bongo? au nimshauri tu asirudi?
     
  11. Smatta

    Smatta JF-Expert Member

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    Ni mkabila gani? ...... LOL... am just kidding
     
  12. Saint Ivuga

    Saint Ivuga JF-Expert Member

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    Makabila ya kaskazini but cio mchaga. may u nt kidin..secret ingredient
     
  13. G

    Geza Ulole JF-Expert Member

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    Ofcourse, It helps me! It becomes easier to understand him! According to his arguments (which anyway turn out to be brainless) tell he has lacks the technical-know-hows needed to handle a Ministry like that of Tourism if at all he fails to respect a Management Plan! Instead of trying to get one for Masai Mara so as to reap the benefits the Serengeti gets he keeps on pushing us to disregard the directives set for his country's selfishly benefits! Do you call that smartness is this the Kenya you are proud of?

    Have you ever asked yourself why is Masai Mara not a World Heritage site while it shares the serengeti ecosystem? The answer is simply Masai Mara does not have the Environmental Management Plan (EMP)! So pls tell your minster to stop his cheap publicity! He knows nothing on preserving the ecosystem and yet some of you here yap that you are higly skilled and educated!
     
  14. Ab-Titchaz

    Ab-Titchaz Content Manager Staff Member

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    This is for Smatta,

    aloo morio, acha kutetea Balala hapa maana hio mtu haijasoma kama
    unavyotaka kusema. Alishiriki darasa kwa kiwango f'lani but other than
    that, ni bomu tu.
     
  15. G

    Geza Ulole JF-Expert Member

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    Thank you mate for helping me out! You can easily identify someone who has never been to school that much when you hear or read his cheap cum publicity stunt press release (always no substance in it)! The other time he was arguing in the Kenyan Parliament to be allocated more funds for markrting cause Zanzibar has taken all the tourists who were before going to Mombasa for beach Tourism! Can you imagine a Tourist Minister presenting that as a reason strong enough to be allocated more funds for marketing Kenya's tourism?

    It is like taking a home example of Dr Magufuri, when he sits for a press he comes with concrete evidences of things he talks about, well researched before! And try to compare him with Sophia Simba or Bi Kigoda!
     
  16. Ab-Titchaz

    Ab-Titchaz Content Manager Staff Member

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    You are welcome bro.
    Nami namsubiri anijibu.
     
  17. Smatta

    Smatta JF-Expert Member

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    So if I say you've never been to school, will I be wrong? This is a case of the pot calling the kettle black, re read your posts, then come here and challenge my conclusion.
     
  18. Ab-Titchaz

    Ab-Titchaz Content Manager Staff Member

    #18
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    You love dodging bullets huh?...:)
     
  19. Smatta

    Smatta JF-Expert Member

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    Niaje mtu wangu,

    Kwa post yangu sijasema balala amesoma, kilicho nidunga hapo ni vile huyu morio GU ana try ku divert hii thread, thread imeiva na tunaeza i discuss intellectually, lakini watu wakianza ku spit arguments hazina basis from the top of their heads, ita haribu kila kitu coz mimi sioni education background ya balala imetokea wapi and its common sense that your hospitality sector is dead, Everyone and their mamas know that.

    Na wasilisha.
     
  20. G

    Geza Ulole JF-Expert Member

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    Thank you! I think you have run out of points! I was assuming you will prove to me that indeed he has a degree from Havard and also you will defend his accusations that indeed Tanzania is bureaucratic on protecting its volatile Serengeti ecosystem (I gave my defence proving him wrong that it is both Environmental (dictates) and business interests are keeping the gate closed )! You must be so educated my friend with your cheap arguments and no wonder Tanzania doesn't want to take her kids to Kenyan Institutions for tourism and hospitality courses if at all Kenya could only produce people like you!
     
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