President Kenyatta took time out to see the great migration over the weekend, when he visited the Masai Mara Game Reserve in the company of Phyllis Kandie, Cabinet Secretary for East African Affairs, Commerce and Tourism; the ministry’s PS Mohammed Ibrahim; and the CEO of the Kenya Tourism Board, Mr. Muriithi Ndegwa.
President Kenyatta, while at the Mara Serena Lodge, reassured the tourism sector that his government had set aside some 3 billion Kenya shillings (over US$34 million) to allow for vigorous marketing of the destination in existing, new and emerging destinations, aimed to bring in significantly higher numbers of tourist visitors to the Kenya coast and the safari parks. He was quoted to have said that over the coming 5 years visitor arrivals need to rise to 5 million per annum.
This is seen as a direct response to the growing concern by private and public sector when parliamentarians tried to shift 2 billion of the budget estimates to other areas, which would have left KTB and the ministry cash strapped and almost unable to fulfill their mandate and roll out the planned recovery marketing campaign.
Latest arrival statistics show that the decline in visitor numbers has now bottomed out and for the second half of the year a rise in tourists coming to Kenya is expected.
The President also, during his visit to the Mara, addressed issues concerning poaching and how best to combat it, which includes the new Wildlife Bill set to introduce heavy fines and longer prison terms.