Tourism Cabinet Secretary Alfred Mutua has accused Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) officials attached to country’s points of entry and exit for allegedly harassing and scaring away international tourist through what he termed unnecessary and exaggerated checks.
Speaking at a Tourism Stakeholders luncheon held in Nairobi yesterday, Mutua decried the unprofessional manner in which some KRA officials have been handling tourist who arrive in Kenya especially through the airports.
“We harass our visitors when they arrive at the Airport and then you wonder why they don’t come back. Go to Maldives today nobody opens your bag because you are a Tourist”. Mutua lamented.
Further, he announced that major policy changes are in the offing within the tourism sector which he says will reclaim Kenya’s lost glory with tourism as a leading foreign income earner.
He has vowed to ensure the number of tourists arriving in the country increases from current 1.4 million to 10 million per year.
According to Mutua, the country must reposition its self as a leading tourist destination in the global tourism market by improving its hospitality, entertainment, shopping and conference facilities.
“Normal Saudi Arabians don’t think of Kenya as a tourist destination they go to South African, they go to Zanzibar because there has never been any single advertising about Kenya targeting them.” He added.
The CS also outlined his plan to boost medical tourism in the country by ensuring Kenya offers medical services similar to the ones available in India.
In a bid to enhance local tourism, announced that his ministry will partner with county governments to improve visibility of numerous tourist destinations.
“I want to sit down with governors and agree on what the need to do to attract tourist to their counties.” He said.
Meanwhile CS Mutua assured victims of human wildlife conflict that the government will settle a pending bill of Sh5.7 billion worth of compensation.
He noted that Sh1.1 billon has already been paid to a sections of victims, adding that the government will seek for development partners input in fencing off national park to curb more deadly conflicts in the future.