News / Africa

    Kenyan Tourism Association Hosts Gubernatorial Debate

    Local tourists walk at the Kenyatta public beach on August 30, 2012, in Mombasa, Kenya.
    Local tourists walk at the Kenyatta public beach on August 30, 2012, in Mombasa, Kenya.
    Jill Craig
    The Kenya Association of Hotel Keepers and Caterers hosted a gubernatorial forum in Mombasa on Wednesday, to allow its members to ask questions of the candidates running for office. Because tourism is the coast’s major industry, political candidates want to talk to its management, investors, and workers.

    Kenya is abuzz with pre-election activity, now less than two weeks away from the March 4 polling date. And at the Kenyan Coast, where tourism thrives, its stakeholders want to hear how Mombasa county gubernatorial candidates will support their businesses and organizations.

    As the executive director for the coast of the Kenya Association of Hotel Keepers and Caterers, Sam Ikwaye said that the high value of coastal tourism ensures that politicians pay attention.

    “Tourism is the cash crop: it is the biggest industry at the coast today, with a very big multiplier effect," he said. "We estimate that one employee is supporting at least a household of ten. So you’re looking at a wife and two or three children, and a landlord, and a taxi driver, and everybody.

    "So the totality of the economy in this region relies on tourism. Even agriculture, which is very key due to the food production, highly depends on tourism," Ikwaye added. "And that is why when you have low season in this particular region, you realize that many other sectors actually suffer. So tourism is the core and backbone - a very important sector.”

    Paul Kurgat works with the Ashnil hotels at the coast. As one of the roughly 50 attendees at the debate, he said that politicians must understand the issues facing tourism at the coast. “My reasons for coming into this debate is to interrogate the candidates and get to know which candidate would be best suitable to handle issues bedecking the tourism industry,” he said.

    Gubernatorial aspirant and debate participant Tendai Lewa Mtana said his first priority is city planning since residents inherited a decaying infrastructure that has not been updated since independence. “And the infrastructure must be able to facilitate business," Mtana explained.

    "So when we’re talking about water, what is evident is that the water that the tourism industry is having to purchase is unacceptable. Water is a basic right in this constitution and for business particularly, they cannot be spending 20% of their costs on water," said Mtana. "So water must be handled.”  

    Sam Ikwaye of the Hotel Keepers and Caterers Association agreed that infrastructure problems are a big concern, and said he’s most interested in hearing how the government is going to help “because another challenge we’ve suffered as an industry is that the central government has kept on milking the tourism industry. Because it is perceived to be an industry with a lot of money," he said.

    "But then, they have not been plying back the development of this industry and therefore, you’ve seen standards going down, infrastructure coming down, the sewage system collapsing, and many other issues, so we really wanted to hear the governors’ manifestos and what their plans are and how they are going to finance this,” Ikwaye added.

    According to the World Travel and Tourism Council, the total contribution of travel and tourism to Kenya’s GDP  is over 13 percent.

    You May Like

    Clinton, Trump and the 'Woman’s Card'

    Ask supporters of Democratic front-runner in US presidential campaign, and they’ll tell you Republican presidential candidate is playing a dangerous hand

    Russian Censorship Group Seeks Chinese Help to Better Control Internet

    At recent Safe Internet League forum in Moscow, speakers from both nations underscored desire for authorities to further limit and control information online

    Video Makeshift Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Free classes in Islamabad park serve a few of the country’s nearly 25 million out-of-school youths; NGO cites ‘education crisis’

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora