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

In China, Mixed Signals on Ebola Controls

How authorities are monitoring at-risk individuals remains unclear, including whether there are quarantines for Chinese health workers returning from West Africa More

Video Women Voters Anxious Ahead of US Elections

Analysts say if women are focused on national security, it could be bad news for Democrats More

Solar's Future Looks Brighter

New technology and dropping prices are contributing to a surge in solar power More

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

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Women Voters Anxious Ahead of US Electionsi
X
October 31, 2014 4:10 AM
Public opinion polls show American voters are deeply dissatisfied with their government and anxious about threats from abroad. This is especially true for a key voting group both Republicans and Democrats are trying hard to win over: women. Analysts say if women are focused on national security, it could be bad news for Democrats, with majority control of the Senate at stake. VOA’s Cindy Saine looks at the crucial role women voters will play in deciding the elections.
Video

Video Women Voters Anxious Ahead of US Elections

Public opinion polls show American voters are deeply dissatisfied with their government and anxious about threats from abroad. This is especially true for a key voting group both Republicans and Democrats are trying hard to win over: women. Analysts say if women are focused on national security, it could be bad news for Democrats, with majority control of the Senate at stake. VOA’s Cindy Saine looks at the crucial role women voters will play in deciding the elections.
Video

Video Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisia

Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Africa Tells its Story Through Fashion

In Africa, Fashion Week is a riot of colors, shapes, patterns and fabrics - against the backdrop of its ongoing struggle between nature and its fast-growing urban edge. How do these ideas translate into needle and thread? VOA’s Anita Powell visited this year’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa in Johannesburg to find out.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.

All About America

AppleAndroid