NAIROBI - Kenya is working with its neighbours to come up with a single visa that will enable tourists to visit all the five East African Community member states.
“We are also working on a joint marketing strategy so that as we sell Kenya as a tourist destination, we will also be selling all the attractions that the region has to offer,” President Uhuru Kenyatta said, according to the Daily Nation newspaper.
Uhuru was speaking at Kenyatta International Conference Centre (KICC) when he opened the 3rd edition of the Magical Kenya Travel Expo.
More than 150 companies from all parts of the world were represented at the tourism exposition.
Uhuru underscored the importance of tourism, saying it generates around 12 per cent of Kenya’s gross domestic product and accounts for about 9 per cent of the country’s total formal employment.
He said his administration is focused on enhancing the country’s competitiveness in the sector to increase the number of tourists visiting Kenya every year.
“Specifically, we have committed to promote Kenya as a destination, rather than stop-over, and to attract at least three million tourists annually,” he said.
Uhuru called for additional investment in hotel and other tourism-related infrastructure as Government scales up interconnectivity through port, rail, road and infrastructure.
He singled out the ongoing expansion of the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport and the opening of the expanded Kisumu Airport as some of the initiatives to increase the country’s capacity to receive more visitors.
He assured the Kenya tourism Board of increased budgetary allocation to enable it to promote a diversified range of domestic destinations.
The President also said his administration has put in place measures to counter terrorism and other security threats.
He said the Government is vigilant and has embarked on heavy investment in security to ensure the safety of Kenyans and tourists.
“We are vigilant and are effectively countering all security threats to keep Kenya safe. We are investing heavily in our security to protect the whole country,” he said.
President Kenyatta said the Government will continue to mobilise international support to fight terrorism.
He urged international partners to desist from issuing travel advisories which compounded the negative impact of terrorism.