Foreign tourism firms locked out Tourists enjoy a ride over the Masai Mara Game Reserve. Photo/FILE By JUSTUS ONDARI firstname.lastname@example.orgPosted Tuesday, December 28 2010 at 16:24 Kenya has started enforcing a new law barring unlicensed foreign tourism firms from the country's major attractions. Tanzania introduced a similar law a year ago. The Tourism ministry yesterday said it had learnt that unlicensed local and foreign operators were doing business in national parks, game reserves and other tourist areas. "This is contrary to the Tourist Industry Licensing Act… and enforcement agencies are requested to ensure this law is fully adhered to," Tourism Permanent Secretary Ms Leah Adda Gwiyo said in a press advertisement. "This applies and is not limited to tour and travel operators, local air charters, boat excursions, balloon operators, game ranches and tour and driver guides," the advert said, while urging operators to renew their licences for 2011. The move comes a year after the Tanzania National Parks (Tanapa) issued a circular on November 6, 2009 barring tour operators without a valid licence from accessing the country's parks. Long overdue The circular said vehicles owned by Kenyan tour companies were being allowed to operate in some of the country's national parks after only being charged a "foreign vehicle fee". "This is contrary to the laws governing tour operations in Tanzania. Please note that this fee is only applicable to private and not commercial vehicles. You are strongly urged to comply," it said. Local industry players welcomed the Kenyan government's move, saying it was "long overdue". "Even if we have to relax access to our parks in the spirit of the East African Community, let us first enforce similar regulations like other countries in the region so that when we begin any negotiations, we do it from the same level," said Mr Fred Kaigua, the chief executive of the Kenya Association of Tour Operators, a lobby group of the industry's players. "Enforcing the law will raise the standards of service we offer if the licensing criteria is stringent enough because it will kick out quacks who masquerade as genuine operators," said Ms Agatha Juma, the chief executive officer of the Kenya Tourism Fund, the industry's private sector umbrella body. Daily Nation:*- Business News*|Foreign tourism firms locked out MY TAKE This must be after making noises about the Serengeti's Bolongoja gate to be opened contrarily to their cry agianst the Serengeti-Mara project and went unheard! I am sure the move will not affect TZ since its tourism can complement itself! One visa thing is a flawed idea to Tanzania, a tourists hungry country that wants to establish itself and get every penny of that tourist money!